Marie-Eve Belanger (Thing Tank a.k.a DDiMIT)
Jessie Curell (NFB.ca)
Kate Dickson (Nickelodeon UK)
Debbie Gordon (kidsmediacentre @ Centennial College)
Sara Grimes (Faculty of Information, UofT)
Richard Lachman (Digital Media, School of Radio and TV Arts @ Ryerson University)
Alex Leitch (Site3.ca)
Mark Rabo (Gamercamp and Gamercamp Jr.)
Emily Scheer (Special Projects, Workshops, Outreach, TIFF)
Miriam Verburg (zinc Roe)
Suzanne Wilson (Children’s Entertainment, Centennial College)
Marie-Eve Belanger is a designer, researcher, and overall creative generalist. She is the coordinator of the ThingTank Lab, a private-academic-public partnership that researches and experiments with post-digital spaces and the Internet of Things. Her current work explores the nature of knowledge transfer in creative and informal communities, the role of DIY, hacker & maker cultures in social innovation, and the ongoing adoption of rapid prototyping and digital fabrication tools. Marie-Eve is a graduate of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto where her work focused on annotative practices, digital textuality, and novel user interfaces for scholarly research. Learn more about her at her website.
Jessie Curell is the National Workshop Facilitator with the National Film Board. As a member of the Education Team for the past 6 months, she has been travelling across Canada teaching educators about new NFB educational resources found within CAMPUS, a new site specifically designed for Canadian Educators. Prior to her work with the NFB, Jessie completed her Master’s Degree in Media Production in 2010 from Ryerson University, with her thesis project a 3-month cross-Canada tour entitled Shout Out! Media Workshop Series. She and a small team of educators taught 15 media literacy and media production workshops to over 100 adolescent girls, where participants were actively encouraged to create their own media projects which addressed issues of representation, feminism and mainstream media. .
Kate Dickson is a public relations specialist with over seven years of communications experience working across the fields of film, television and politics. In her current role as Communications Manager for Astral’s kids brands she oversees the communications efforts of three national networks; generating compelling media pitches and award-winning national campaigns such as Family Channel’s Bullying Awareness Week program. An enthusiastic fan of video games and new media, Kate volunteers as programming assistant and media relations coordinator for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is a member of the TIFF Gaming and New Media Think Tank and is working on PR guide for independent game developers. Kate tweets as @plentyspace on twitter.
Debbie Gordon is the Director of the newly minted kidsmediacentre (kmc) at Centennial College’s School of Communications, Media and Design. Working in partnership with the College’s post-graduate Children’s Entertainment Program, the kidsmediacentre functions as a think tank and research centre serving the children’s industry in Canada.
Prior to establishing the kmc, Debbie worked in the television, advertising and marketing industries for 20 years building brands and coordinating market research for a number of Tier one companies (Unilever, Hershey, Heinz, Fairmont, Alberto Culver, TDTrust, Bermuda Tourism, etc).
Debbie has helped design digital, corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices for Microsoft, Universal Studios, Xbox, the Ontario Government and Dove (Self Esteem Fund). In 2001, she created her own media and digital literacy consulting practice called Mediacs, teaching media literacy to children, parents, and educators. She has helped school boards develop digital best practices and in 2011 her series on Digital Kids was a finalist in the Canadian Magazine Awards.
Dr. Sara M. Grimes is a professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, and Visiting Professor at the University of St. Michael’s College. She researches and teaches primarily in the areas of children’s media culture(s), play studies and critical theories of technology, with a special focus on digital games. Sara’s work has appeared in journals such as New Media & Society, The Information Society, The International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, and Communication, Culture & Critique. Her published work includes explorations of children’s virtual worlds and online communities, examinations of online marketing targeted to children, the articulation of a critical theory of digital game play, and discussions of the legal and ethical dimensions of virtual property in online games. In addition to her own research on child-generated content in digital games, Sara is currently collaborating on a number of play-related projects. She is associate director of the Mobile and Pervasive Computing Cluster (Inclusive Design Institute at UofT), heading the Adaptive Gaming and Inclusive Play research area. She is co-applicant on a recently awarded Partnership Development Grant on Digital Economy Trading Zones, leading a reference project on Play. Sara is on the advisory boards of the Media Awareness Network’s Young Canadians in a Wired World Phase 3, Privacy: The Game!, and blogs at Gamine Expedition.
Richard Lachman is an Assistant Professor, Digital Media in the School of Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University. The Gemini-award winning producer is also a creative and technical consultant for new media projects, primarily focused on entertainment and transmedia media properties. He is a computer-science graduate form MIT, holds a masters degree from the MIT Media Lab’s “Interactive Cinema” group, and is completing a doctorate in Computer Science at UNE in Australia.
His professional projects have included partners such as Discovery Channel Canada, CTV, CityTV, and the Banff Centre for the Arts, and his works in the computer games industry have shipped millions of copies and been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and Time Magazine, as well as being part of an exhibition at the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
Richard’s research interests include convergent media, interactive documentary, and new forms of storytelling. He teaches classes in digital media, interactive art, animation, digital documentary, virtual environments, and digital culture.
Alex Leitch is a co-founder and director of Site 3 coLaboratory. She lives and works in Toronto, where she makes amazing things, then makes amazing things on fire. She enjoys game development and cycling. Alex graduated from McMaster University with a B.A.hon in Critical Theory and Fine Art.
A mechanical engineer by training, Mark now works community-building and exploring ideas in video games, youth media, and education. He co-founded Canada’s largest indie games festival Gamercamp, the youth-focused Gamercamp Jr, and sits on the board of The Hand Eye Society. He also works as a photographer and videographer and has been featured in The Globe, The National Post, Torontoist, and BlogTO. His spare time is spent experience-seeking including motorcycling, flying, and climbing.
Emily Scheer, Manager, Workshops & Community Initiatives, oversees TIFF initiatives that provide film experiences, activities and training to children, youth and families.
Since 2004, Emily has created connections between filmmakers and communities through Special Delivery, a year-round initiative which brings artists and industry professionals to youth in undeserved areas of Toronto. Emily has also been integral to the launch and success of Reel Comfort, a TIFF programme of screenings and workshops for adult patients of Toronto General Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital acute care psychiatric wards. Emily is currently at work strengthening year-round TIFF Kids and TIFF Next Wave programming, with key festivals for both taking place in spring 2012.
Miriam works with zinc Roe clients to analyze, define and implement their needs. She completed her MA in Media Studies at Concordia University in 2009. Her thesis work focused on digital literacy, youth media and popular education in community settings.
Miriam began her life as a geek with a Mac Pentium 5 and a scuffed-up copy of Photoshop 2. Since those early days, her passion for interactive media and extroverted nature has led to a pretty sweet career in management, program development, information strategy and web development, not necessarily in that order.
Suzanne Wilson has spent the last eighteen years working in the production and marketing of children’s entertainment with companies like BBC Worldwide, Portfolio Entertainment, The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, Lambur & Associates, Lenz Entertainment and the Chocolate Liberation Front and has been involved with properties including the Teletubbies, It’s itsy bitsy Time!, Miffy, Domo-Kun and many others. She also holds an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Suzanne was involved in the development and launch, in September 2009, of the Centennial College Children’s Entertainment: Writing, Production and Management post-graduate certificate and continues to coordinate the program and teach. She is also Senior Administrator of Business Affairs for Breakthrough Entertainment and Mom to a very busy seven year old.