In partnership with SFU's school of communication


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

Participation Call-Out for Media Democracy Days 2016

Calling all media makers…

we’ve hinted at some changes for The Media Democracy Project, and it’s finally time to spread the news! On September 15th at VIVO Media Arts Centre, we’re hosting a Co-Lab to determine what our program for this years Media Democracy Days (MDD) Conference will look like.

We’re calling all of you media artists, activists, journalists, educators, and organizers to come and pitch us a session that you’d like to make happen atMedia Democracy Days on November 19th at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

The Co-Lab will be a space for collaboration, to grow and strengthen our network of independent media makers in the city. Come with an idea for a session (a portion of our program from 45 – 90 minutes) that you want to make happen, and be prepared to workshop it with fellow media makers in the city. Be open to new partnerships, and each group that walks away to create a session in our 2016 program will receive a mini-grant to make their project happen on November 19th.

A session can be anything, from workshops and media trainings, to talks and group dialogues, to performances and debates, and more we haven’t thought up yet. Be as creative as you want, so long as each session uses media to accomplish its aim. We define media as the tools and techniques used to communicate with the world.

Speaking of topics, we’ve defined seven thematic “Tracks” for MDD 2016. Take a look through each of these, and use them as the framework for designing a session at MDD:

We’ll be providing a free dinner, cash bar, music, and a community of media makers at the Co-Lab. We hope to see you and your creative ideas for MDD 2016 there!

Important links:
Find more information on our website at:
Please spread the word and share our Facebook event.
You must register to participate in the Co-Lab on Eventbrite.

Please take a look at the above links and feel free to contact Sydney with questions at

-Sydney from The Media Democracy Project