In partnership with SFU's school of communication


We’re Adding Some Radical Speakers to Our Line-up On Nov 19th

We’ve got some stellar speakers sliding into the Media Democracy Days program as welcome additions at both the start and the end of the day on November 19th.

First thing’s first, our morning panel “Radical Librarians For Media Democracy” will be an introduction to the work of three local people who use their roles as librarians for social equity and political action. Each of them services separate communities and has unique projects in the works:

Melissa Adams is the Librarian and Archivist at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs where she supports the organization’s work advocating for Indigenous interests, rights and title. This includes managing the library collection, as well as providing reference services and training support to both members of Indigenous communities and the wider public.

Stephanie Kripps is head of nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch of Vancouver Public Library (VPL), opening in early 2017. Some of Stephanie’s roles with VPL have included Project Manager for the pilot First Nations Storyteller in Residence Program; Branch Head of Carnegie Library; and Coordinator of Accessible Services.

Vince Tao is the Librarian at 221A, a non-profit gallery and project space, and will be talking with us about his current work involving the restaging the radical and historic Vancouver Women’s Bookstore.

This panel happens at 10:30 AM on November 19th at SFU Harbour Centre. Seats are first come first serve and is kindly sponsored by the BC Library Association.

At the end of the day on Saturday, we’ll gather once more for a session hosted by which will focus on reconciliation journalism, coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation report, and how independent media can incorporate decolonization into its coverage.

Decolonizing the Mind will be our plenary session featuring two incredible speakers.

Glen Coulthard is Yellowknives Dene and an Associate Professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

Tina House has been a full-time Video Journalist with APTN National News in the BC bureau since July 2007. A proud Métis born in Vancouver, in 2010 she received the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for Canada for her work on a half-hour APTN Investigates story “Missing Women.”

This session will be an opportunity for skill building for media activists as well as a conversation about how to shift the culture in a settler dominated society. We’ll start seating fifteen minutes before the plenary begins at 5:00 PM on November 19th at SFU Harbour Centre.

Check out the rest of our program at

Connecting Activists and Defending Democratic Rights at MDD 2016

Featured here are two events at MDD 2016 to foster community and offer a place to practically discuss the challenges facing activists and those who have joined the opposition to unsustainable developments, pipelines, and tar sand expansion.

Both happening on on November 19th at SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus.

How Do We Leap: Collaborative Art Making Workshop

Everyone is welcome at this workshop to explore how we can connect activism with creativity. How can art-making sustain activist movements and catalyze collective transformation?

Participants will collaborate on a found object multi-media art piece, and work together to find ways to use art to communicate policy and collective goals. Hosted by Molly Billows and Kim Villagante, both artists and facilitators with Access to Media Education Society, an organization that integrates arts-based approaches when discussing social and environmental issues with youth as well as Cascadia Deaf Nation an organization committed to empowering Deaf people of colour and their allies.

There’s limited seating for this workshop, so register here to guarantee your space!

Protecting the Right to Protest: Free Speech versus Corporate Power

Join us in the afternoon at MDD for a roundtable discussion on strategies we can take to defend the activists who are on the front lines, and to change the legal framework that allows abuses of power to take place.

Corporations use the courts to intimidate, silence and bankrupt activists involved in protesting against the tar sands, unsustainable development, and mines. The aim of this roundtable discussion is to explore how we can mobilize the media to address the corporate assault on democratic rights and to educate the public for the need to reform the courts to regain citizen rights to free speech and the right to dissent. For this talk we’ll be joined by speakers Alan Dutton from the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society; Josh Paterson, Executive Director, BC Civil Liberties Association; Linda Solomon Wood, Editor-in-Chief, National Observer; and Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, BC Civil Liberties Association.

Happening at 3:15 PM on November 19th, right after the Rally and March to Stop Kinder Morgan. Seats to this discussion are first come first serve, in Room 1900 at SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus at 515 W Hastings Street.

Take a look at our full program at

Workshops at MDD 2016 for Understanding and Action!

Local and global journalism often involves making compelling stories out of complicated realities. How do we ethically treat the people who are directly impacted by these realities? How can we amplify these voices to make change happen?

Two sessions at Media Democracy Days 2016 on November 19th delve into these important questions.

Do you have a complex issue that you want to bring to the attention of a larger audience?

Unpacking truths through Stories: Lessons from Making “Strangers at Home” will be a workshop where participants will grapple with how to communicate complex issues and ideas to any audience regardless of their familiarity with the subject. This workshop will help break down the process of soliciting stories, partnership journalism, and working with storytellers – including those whom you may not agree with. Participants are encouraged to bring issues and ideas that they’d like to craft into a narrative format.

This workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Shayna Plaut, who has learnt these skills from her time spent as the Research Manager of the Global Reporting Centre and the Project Manager for the video series Strangers at Home. Strangers at Home explores issues of migration/anti-Semitism/racism/anti-Romani sentiment in Europe by focusing on local people’s experiences with these complex realities.

The second session we want to highlight, Amplifying Stories of Displacementwill be for folks who are interested in sharing personal experiences of displacement, or who are interested in how to do collaborative storytelling between displaced people, advocates, and media makers.

Media artist Minah Lee along with journalist Brielle Morgan of Discourse Media will facilitate this session. Minah will share her own work to demonstrate how we can use art to communicate the complex stories of immigration and Brielle will describe the collaborative storytelling models used in her recent work with youth in care. Participants will discuss the barriers, ethical considerations, and ways to consider telling stories with the communities that are impacted.

Space is limited so reserve your seat for one or both of these sessions on Saturday November 19th at SFU Vancouver’s Harbour Centre Campus here!

And check out our full program at

Media Democracy Days 2016 Program is Here!

mdd-2016-website-sliderIt’s finally here!

We’re incredibly excited to release the full Media Democracy Days 2016 program for our 16th year (!) of bringing together our community of media makers, activists, and educators to discuss the relationship between media and democracy.

On November 15th and 16th in the Vancouver Public Library’s Inspiration Lab, and November 19th at SFU Harbour Centre, join us for talks, hands on workshops, and collaboratively determined events. All free and open to the public. Hosted on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Program Features:

Ryan McMahon – Digital Media, Bush Tea & Dibaajimowinan: How Story Shapes The Future Of Indigenous Communities

Keynote from the host of the Red Man Laughing podcast and first Indigenous comedian to have full hour special on the CBC. Ryan’s work continually pushes boundaries with his sharp observations on the “collision between Indian Country and the mainstream.” Register Here

Community Radio Takeover of the Inspiration Lab On November 15th and 16th, we’ll be joined by Vancouver Co-op Radio and CiTR for two media making and audio production workshops in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library’s digital creativity and storytelling learning space. – Register Here

Community Driven Program We’re proud to host a program of events on November 19th that have been determined and collaborated on with a diverse set of media makers and organizations at our Co-Lab event earlier in the fall. –Register Here for workshops

Media Arts Exhibition All day at Harbour Centre on the 19th, we’re showcasing work from Canadian media artists.

Find the whole program and links to registration at

See you in November,
Sydney from The Media Democracy Project

We’re Pleased to Present Our Keynote for MDD 2016

We’ll admit to being in need of some laughter in 2016…

which is one of the reasons we’re overjoyed to announce that comedian, educator, and media maker Ryan McMahon will be joining us as this year’s keynote for Media Democracy Days on November 19th at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

ryan mcmahonBesides collecting a wealth of accolades from his comedic performances over the last few years and being the first Native stand up comedian to do a one hour special for CBC TV, McMahon hosts the podcast Red Man Laughing, which takes a critical look at “the collision between Indian Country and the mainstream.” It’s latest season is titled Reconciliation and we’re looking forward to hearing from a voice that fiercely tackles the questions Canada needs to be asking about how to come to terms with its ongoing history of colonialism.

As an educator who makes media training prioritize the needs of the communities he’s working in with Youth Leadership and Empowerment Workshops, and as a digital media artist who has spent his time networking and promoting other Indigenous media makers across Canada through the Indian & Cowboy podcast network, McMahon has his eye on improving the state of media in this country. It’s the kind of work we want to focus on at Media Democracy Days 2016.

With that, there’s still time to register for our Co-Lab at VIVO on September 15th to take part in our program this year. If you’re an interested media maker, artist, educator, or activist, follow the link below to find more information. Food, fun, and a network of hard working media practitioners await.
Register here!

-Sydney from The Media Democracy Project