Equitable: what is fair, suitable, just; what works well for each individual, different for different people
Education: to educe, to bring out, to draw forth from within
I write, do multi-media reporting, and otherwise work through the media to communicate, advocate and facilitate organizing around social justice issues towards social change.
I also lead/facilitate in-person/face-to-face community/popular education events including speaking engagements, workshops and courses. And, I actively engage in offering support, consulting and networking around activist-oriented and community-building efforts.
It was in 1999-2000 when I first got involved in both activism and media. Activism, initially through a ‘Teaching For Social Justice’ course I took while getting my B.Education at Queen’s University. And media, when my coach with the University of Waterloo track & field team ‘recruited’ me to write up reports of our meets for the UW student newspaper.
I’ve since been a member/involved with a number of community/grassroots activist groups (two of which it was discovered had been infiltrated by undercover police officers). In terms of media, I have contributed to/been published in (both volunteer and for pay) a number of progressive local, regional, national and international media outlets, along with working in organizational and editorial capacities of different media projects.
The importance of media for/to social justice is something I feel strongly about. I think it is a key to making such movements accessible and invoking involvement in different ways..
It can/does extend involvement and participation beyond those who may be physically present at a particular time and space. It allows for learning/education, representation/validation, and perhaps most importantly, connection.
Having done media work for a while now, I’ve developed my thinking/analysis/’praxis’ [theory combined with practise] around how it works/can work. While I will film public talks etc, I find that the 10-20 minute interview format can really work well in offering engaging and digestible dialogue on an issue or topic. I also am partial to print media, and will make the effort to provide ‘offline social media’ tools (ie formatted printable pdf versions of content) to be used as physical handouts that can be shared (at relevant events; at drop-spots in local hubs; with friends, family, colleagues, neighbours; or even to passers-by on the street) and help spark face-to-face conversations. And there’s a lot more I could say around media practise … for a couple samples, see this (long) or this (short), or browse here.
I do find that working as an ‘independent media artist’ situated within a social justice setting does have its challenges. There are often not readily available resources (financial or otherwise) to support the work; and worrying about how far – or if – my work will be shared or seen can at times be somewhat discouraging.
But I do feel that getting this stuff out there is important and that it will at times reach those for whom it will be of particular value/impact, and also that it may have some influence on the causes’ forward progression.
I am thankful for the (mainly positive) feedback I receive on this work, including the Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve grant I’ve received the past two years – it does help reinforce my own sense that this is indeed something worthwhile to be doing.
I would likewise like to offer encouragement to anyone reading this who is doing media work or especially who thinks they would like to (also encouragement to all those who do (/would like to) take up all types of diverse action towards a better world) – that there’s a lot of good that can come out of doing it.
If you’ve got something you’d like to ask me along those lines or otherwise, or have something you’d like to say, please do contact me.
And I’d be honoured if you choose to sign up to my (*low traffic*) newsletter so you’ll stay connected with the work I’m doing.
Chi miigwetch for your interest,
and all the best with your journey
You can watch / listen to me discussing things below:
Introducing the work I do… (from 2013)
My experience & perspective on decolonization and Indigenous solidarity, interviewed by Craig Fortier of York University (70min)
Discussing radical mental health activism re: a cover article I wrote for the Dominion magazine, interviewed by OPIRG Carleton Roots Radio on CKCU 93.1FM (15min + music)
About the Interdependent Media course I offered in 2012, interviewed by the UnderWhere? show on CHUO 89.1FM (13min):
About the Activism course I offered in 2011, on CBC-Ottawa TV (2min):
Public talk as part of a workshop about education (7min):