Countless organizations, community groups and schools organized tremendously successful events across Canada for Media Literacy Week 2010. Below are testimonials, pictures and videos from some of these events.
If you would like to contribute your stories or pictures, please e-mail MediaSmarts.
Breaking the Mold, Breaking the Silence
In early November, Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount) partnered with MediaSmarts and Eating Disorders Action Group to hold Breaking the Mold, Breaking the Silence, a national body image conference. The conference, which was sold out, hosted more than 250 delegates and featured a variety of speakers, films, performances, exhibitions and topics for all different ages, races, and genders.
"Many delegates have been in touch with us since the body image conference. They all comment on the diversity of participants: by age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, scholarship and the arts," says Rita Deverell, Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at the Mount and conference coordinator.
Co-Executive Directors of MediaSmarts, Cathy Wing and Jane Tallim presented at the conference. Their presentation, Body Image Online, discussed the portrayal of body image in the media and how it can affect self esteem.
The body image conference was a great success and the Mount and MediaSmarts sincerely thank all who were involved in facilitating these important discussions.
In November, the London Public Library was honoured to have two special guest panelists provide their unique perspectives on media and gender. Guests heard from Kate Dubinski of the London Free Press and Prof. Kane Faucher from the Media Information and Technoculture program at University of Western Ontario as they discussed the philosophical, practical and political aspect of the issue. The 50 people in attendance were educated and entertained as they heard stories, theories and engaging commentary.
Blurred Images Kick-off
On November 4, at George Waters Middle School in Winnipeg, students celebrated the official kick-off of Media Literacy Week in Manitoba and introduced the Blurred Images Challenge. Students from Brooklands School, George Waters Middle School and St. James Collegiate issued the challenge to media and advertisers to stop promoting gender stereotypes and unhealthy "ideal" body images. They also challenged fellow students across the province to create videos, podcasts, posters and other media projects to show how they feel about Gender and Media, this year’s theme. Videos can be submitted to the Blurred Images wikispace.
The event was the initiative of Manitoba Education, the Manitoba Teachers’ Society and the Manitoba Association of Computing Educators. It also received the support of numerous media outlets by way of news coverage including CBC-TV, CBC Radio’s Afternoon Edition, CityTV, CJOB’s the Drive with Karen Black, Shaw Cable and The Winnipeg Sun.
Girls and Games
On November 5, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) partnered with Women in Games Vancouver to host a panel discussion with women from Vancouver’s video game industry and girls from Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver. Hosted by Electric Playground’s Briana McIvor, the event provided an opportunity to encourage girls to consider a career in video game production and a forum to discuss the important contribution that women make in this vibrant industry in Canada.
The panellists included Bryna Dabby, Zoë Curnoe, Tara Mustapha, Michelle Chua, Erin Olorenshaw and Tami Quiring. They work in the industry in production, development, game design, industry journalism, user research and usability, and animation. During the discussion panellists talked about what it’s like to work at a video game studio, their day-to-day work responsibilities, and how they got started in the industry. The informative discussion also included students sharing why they enjoy video games and reasons they would like to work in the industry. ESAC live-tweeted the event and archived tweets can be read at www.twitter.com/ESACanada.
At the English Montreal School Board
The 11th annual English Montreal School Board Career Fair took place November 3 and 4 at St. Pius X Adult Centre in Ahuntsic for Secondary V students. This event also marked Media Literacy Week and focused on the theme of Gender and Media. Among the guest speakers were popular MusiquePlus veejay Chéli Sauvé-Castonguay and RBC Royal Bank sponsored athletes Benoit St-Amand and Marie-Eve Marleau. St-Amand is a goalie for the Canadian Paralympic sledge hockey team while Marleau is an elite diver who represented Canada at the last Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China. She is now working in media as part of the Marie Annick Lallier Public Relations Firm, which represents Olympic athletes. Castonguay told the students how she was only 21 years old when she came to Montreal and launched her television career. She encouraged students to follow their dreams. Later she spoke one on one with a number of students who wish to follow her lead. While talking about their athletic careers, St-Amand and Marleau acknowledged they interact with the media on regular basis.
Media Democracy Day
On November 6th, the Media Democracy Day team welcomed what was perhaps the biggest and most diverse audience the event has seen in its 10-year history to the Vancouver Public Library for a dynamic day of debate, discussion, celebration, and community building. Sessions, including a keynote address from Al Jazeera English's Tony Burman, were filled to or over capacity, and a number of our smaller panel discussions filled so quickly that would-be attendees had to be turned away. We estimate that over the course of the day, nearly 3000 people partook in the proceedings.
The success of the event was celebrated at Fresh Media's Remixology 3 event, which featured a wonderful talk from Steve Pratt, Director of CBC Radio 3, live music, and a room full of vibrant minds and hearts. The organizers of Media Democracy Day could not be more pleased with how the event came together, and are extremely proud and humbled to have been collaborators on a project like Media Literacy Week.
The Body Series
The National Film Board of Canada continues to be at the forefront of media literacy awareness. On November 2nd, as part of Media Literacy Week 2010, the NFB Mediatheque launched The Body Series, a four part series which includes workshops, screenings and discussions around body image and gender representation. The series is co-presented with Jill Andrew, director of the BITE ME! Toronto International Body Image Film and Arts Festival.
In the first session, sixteen participants were given the opportunity to screen the new NFB animated short Flawed by Andrea Dorfman. The film deals with the filmmaker’s personal view of her own self image, and served as a springboard for a discussion around how we view our own “flaws”. Following the screening, participants were invited to take part in a hands-on workshop which offered an introduction to drawing self portraits. Participants discussed the challenges and benefits of doing this activity and how it can be applied in classroom settings.
Subsequent sessions covering issues around male body image and beauty standards in the fashion industry will take place December 9th, January 27th and ending on February 24th with an art exhibit of all products created within the workshops.
Médias-Jeunes 2010 a huge success!
Youth Media Alliance (formerly the Alliance for Children and Television) welcomed nearly 200 youth production professionals to the Média-Jeunes conference held on November 18 and 19 in Montreal. Thanks to the involvement of 28 speakers and panellists, including about 10 professionals from English Canada, France and the United States, conference participants were able to explore a whole range of experiences.
The event focused on different facets of screen-based youth productions: the future of youth animation in Quebec; conveying positive messages to young people; the much-heralded death of television; a portrait of youth production through the Canadian Media Fund; audience migration to new platforms; and building communities around a television brand. The final speaker, Izzy Neis, captivated audiences thanks to her enthusiasm and her passion for interactively engaging young users of online media.