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Updates from the basement, courtesy of the CITIZENShift team.

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Happy Earth Day

To mark the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in Canada (40 years since the birth of Earth Day), CitizenShift brings back some classics from our archives.

-This article entitled: The Ethics of Eating, published in the Montreal Gazette back in 2008, talks about making food choices.

- This podcast is an overview of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference put together by Thea Whitman from the Canadian Youth Delegation - the final in their excellent podcast series from the summit.

- And this video piece entitled Sprawl by Tamar Kozlov featuring David Suzuki at a conference held by C-Vert, an environmental program for youth.


What are you doing for Earth Day ?


Category : Blogroll

Hugh McGuire’s Ten Thoughts on Social Media Marketing

Hugh Mcguire, who was interviewed for a CitizenShift podcast back in 2007, shares some of his thoughts on Social Media Marketing. He nails it home eloquently… and in only ten slides.

Category : Blogroll

World Water Day

Today, Monday March 22, is World Water Day.

CitizenShift launched the ‘Water’ dossier in 2007, but since then, this dossier has been pulling in lots of new content. Obviously this is an issue that is gaining in importance as the world’s water situation is as critical as ever.

Check out this film on Canada’s Water Crisis, filmed as part of our cross country tour back in March of 2007… and visit the Water dossier for much more.

See more on CitizenShift


Category : Blogroll

Open Video Conference - notes from NYC

Have hardly had the time to reflect back on the fabulous Open Video Conference that i attended on June 19 & 20th in NYC…

The Open Video Conference was a gathering put together by the The Participatroy Culture Foundation, Yale Internet Society, and the Open Video Alliance (amongst others) with major sponsors Mozilla and Red Hat.

This was ‘the gathering of the good guys’, and i was honoured to be, not just present, but presenting… CitizenShift, of course.

The site’s About page describes the conference as follows:

As internet video matures, we face a crossroads: will technology and public policy support a more participatory culture - one that encourages and enables free expression and broader cultural engagement? Or will online video become a glorified TV-on-demand service, a central part of a permissions-based culture? Web video holds tremendous potential, but limits on broadband, playback technology, and fair use threaten to undermine the ability of individuals to engage in dialogues in and around this new media ecosystem.

And indeed, all of these issues were tackled in a wham-blam two days packed with interesting and engaging sessions. Conference organizers estimated that there were over 800 attendees with thousands more online following the discussions around software, politics, journalism, art, education, industry, business, technology, culture, communication, freedom and democracy….

Check out the conversation, still raging on the open video site and on Twitter - openvideo and #openvideo).

This was way more than your typical conference, and from all the reviews i’m reading out there, everyone who attended was, to put it mildly, blown away. I left NY feeling totally invigorated, armed with the mission to pursue more open technical standards, and to keep CitizenShift strong within the ‘open’ community!

open video conference - June 19 & 20, 2009

My pick of conference highlights include…(only mentioning a few here, as so many of the sessions were of high calibre, was hard to choose faves!)

Yochai Benkler:
Gave the Keynote and set the tone with his philosophical musings on distributed networks and their role in the new political democracy. According to Benkler, “Distributed innovation is in the service of distributed democracy.”

Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation annonced that the upcoming release of Firefox 3.5 will support the html 5 open video standard. See mark’s slide presentation on Mozilla open video standards here:

Mark summed up his impressions of the conference here:

The hilarious Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the Daily Show did a session on the role of satire in political media. Winstead says she sees great opportunities for new media journalists and reporters….(especially as newspapers are folding).
Her online satire news site:

Jonathan Zittrain about was supposed to be doing his talk as the conference wrap-up, but when Clay Shirky’s plane was delayed, Zittrain came in to the rescue with a funny and enlightening talk on collective consent on the Internet, from a refreshingly legal AND ‘open’ perspective. He gave several compelling examples of how ‘people contribute because they want to be part of something larger than themselves’.

As per my interests in educational technology, i was impressed by the session on Open Video in Education. A wide variety of projects represented ranging from Cambridge University’s Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies, to Participatory Culture Foundation (still my favourite resource for ‘how to make Internet TV’‘ ) highlighting Miro , the VITAL project out of Columbia U that allows annotating, citing and referencing video (about to be used on a PBS documentary on the Vietnam war). To for long form educational content on opencast communities. Everyone agreed that CC licences are the way to go for education! And finally the wise and insightful Alyce Wyatt, a long standing media consultant and Executive director for the Grantmakers for film and electronic media declared the urgent need for a general amnesty for rights on educational works!

Xeni Jardin of Boingboing fame also gave an excellent keynote (what a charming person she is, both on stage, and also in an impromptu conversation i had with her in the hallway… she asked me to send her CitizenShift links - you bet Xeni!!)
Her talk focused on the success of boingboing video - partly because it’s Open! (all creative commons licencing, available for download). BoingBoing sticks to its mandate, and has refused offers from TV networks. Their medium is the Web, and, according to Xeni, that’s how it’s going to stay!

Xeni also interviewed Pirate Bay defender Peter Sunde - interesting to hear Sunde’s point of view on P2P and the ongoing Pirate Bay court case… catch them here:

Amy Goodman was probably the least ‘Web savvy’ of the speakers, but she brought what many others lacked… conviction and dedication on the front lines of the struggle. What a powerful speaker she is. Much respect to the work Democracy Now is doing, yes even through more ‘traditional’ channels, like radio (ovbiously still crucial!) In the end, Goodman proves that the message is more important than the medium!
Democracy Now!

The Independent Video Platforms session, where i presented CitizenShift…was good, however time was cut a bit short, and the room was way over capacity (i.e. hot and a bit chaotic with people sitting on the floor, window ledges, furniture, etc!)

It was really great to have CitizenShift represented amongst that crowd though. Good to catch up with our friends from Engage Media from Australia, Witness’ The Hub, the Open Media Project and the way cool from India (check them out!). CitizenShift’s presence within the Open Video movement is essential but we have our work cut out for us in terms of using open standards. Yes, we’re still all in flash for video, like most of the sites represented in our session, but we must keep ourselves at the forefront of video innovation, and open standards are clearly the way to go!

The session delved into the various ways in which these platforms engage with human rights, environmental, social justice and free culture, with the underlying question of how to keep these spaces viable next to large scale commercial spaces like YouTube and others. Interesting insights as we explored the landscape of these ‘alternative’ models and how we can keep them alive and vibrant.

Participants in the session:
citizenShift (
Engage Media (
The Hub (
Open Media Project/Denver Open Media ( / (
Show in a Box (
visionOntv (

And of course i simply must mention the session where my esteemed colleague Joel Pomerleau did an excellent job of highlighting the NFB’s on demand video service. Very well received by a demanding crowd. Bravo Joël! It’s really important that the NFB was so well represented at this conference, as this is crowd represents the avant guard of Web video culture.

Last but not least, a nod to Eclectic Method the highly entertaining VJ remixers from the party…

For a good overview of the conference with a brief report on many of the main sessions, see Jane Park’s post here:

Category : Blogroll

An announcement about CitizenShift’s future

So finally it’s public. What i’ve been itching to twitter to the world for weeks now is finally out. As Michel Venne, head of the Institut de Nouveau Monde announced at his plenary at the Canadian Social Forum in Calgary (thurs, may 21, 1:45pm), CitizenShift is making a move out of the National Film Board.

Yes, our beloved platform is now considered grown up and mature and needs to leave the nest egg of the NFB. But rest assured all you fellow ‘Shifters‘ out there, we will do everything to make sure that this site and community stays strong and marches on.

Our first new partner, and taking on the role of host for us, is the Institute de Nouveau Monde (l’INM). The NFB will continue to partner with us, and will be essential in our ability to offer support to indy media makers.

Michel Venne head of the INM

As Michel mentioned during his talk, we welcome partnerships with similar and complimentary orgs and hope to enlarge the CitizenShift community through direct participation on the site.

Lots of interesting ideas a buzz, so stay tuned for more info and the ‘official’ press release, of course.

Questions? Ideas? Don’t hesitate to contact us:
citizen at nfb dot ca

Category : Uncategorized

Who We Are - Call for short films

Check out Who We Are, which is still in beta, but has a pretty interesting blog growing up…

And if you’re a filmmaker, or know one, consider submitting a piece to the site… the deadline for submissions has been extended until January 31, so you still have a bit of time… here’s some more information from the Who We Are team…

Submit a film to Who We Are

Submit a film to Who We Are

To Apply:

Call for videos
What is this call for videos exactly?

The platform provides the Canadian public the opportunity to watch, upload and share videos about identity and cultural diversity in Canada.

If this subject is something you can relate to, why not share your own experience or someone else’s by directing a short video for our website.

Submit your video idea now and if selected you’ll get an okay to shoot and direct your video. Upon submission, you will receive a 1000$ grant.

Who can participate?
The call for videos is open to everyone, professionals and non-professionals who are willing to direct a video about the Canadian cultural mosaic or submit an existing one on the same topic. The candidates must be at least 14 years of age and older.

What are the criteria for this project?
About the format:
The video has to be short - between 2 and 5 minutes,
and can be documentary style, animation, or experimental.
You should be submitting a proper proposal with suggested treatment.

About the content:
The content can either be in French or English
(French and English subtitles are also accepted).
The content has to be audacious, original, relevant, and related to immigration.

About the direction:
The direction has to have editorial, artistic and narrative qualities.

Thank you so much for your time, Have a great day!

- The WhoWeAre team

Category : Seeking Submissions

CS wins SNCR Award of Excellence

Hey, great news!

CITIZENShift has just received an Award of Excellence in the Media Division, Media Creation Category, from the Society for New Communications Research! (

The Society honours innovative organizations that are pioneering the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities, virtual worlds, and collaborative technologies in the areas of media, marketing, public relations, advertising, entertainment, education, politics, and social initiatives.

“The National Film Board’s CitizenShift program is a great example of the successful and innovative use of new communications solutions and social media practices to enhance communications and relationships,” commented Mike Manuel, SNCR Best Practices & Awards committee chairman.

All the winning case studies submitted to this year’s SNCR awards program have been published in New Communications Review at

Check out the Mediacasters site for a great article about it!

About the Society for New Communications Research
The Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) is a global nonprofit foundation dedicated to the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society. The Society creates a bridge between the academic community and practitioners using these news tools and technologies. SNCR’s Fellows include a leading group of futurists, scholars, business leaders, professional communicators, members of the media and technologists from around the globe – all collaborating together on research initiatives, educational offerings, and the establishment of best practices. For more information, visit or call +1 (650) 331-0083.

Category : Uncategorized

Are We American? - a conference at McGill

Keep your eyes on this space as CitizenShift will be blogging from a conference entitled: Are We American? Canadian Culture in North America.

The conference, put on by the McGill Institue for the Study of Canada, promises to be quite the interesting gathering with a wide variety of speakers and participants weighing in on the subject.

As part of the events, Gilberto Gil, Brazil’s Minister of Culture and Grammy Award-winner singer/songwriter, is giving a free public lecture entitled: Digital Culture: Re-inventing America’s New World Dream, on Friday Feb 15 at 6pm.

I’m actully looking forward to attending Gil’s second public event: Broadband: a conversation with Gilberto Gil, which takes place on Feb 16th at the SAT. Not to be missed.

Check out the CitizenShift blog for more info and blog entries coming to you directly from the conference!

Category : Uncategorized

The Monarch Vector

Here’s a little heads up on an interesting project to be featured on CitizenShift sometime in the new year. Patrick Beaulieu and Daniel Canty are just back from a transcontinental journey following the Monarch Butterfly’s migration path.

Here’s how the artists describe it:

Monarch Vector is a poetic reflexion on flight and the fragility of frontiers, real or imagined, inspired from a true-life adventure. Over thirty-four days in October and November of 2007, multidisciplinary artists Patrick Beaulieu and Daniel Canty piloted the Monarca Mobile, a modified 1978 postal truck incorporating a portable art gallery. In this archaic vehicle, at once lumbering and delicate, they followed, by way of land, the aerial path of the monarch butterflies’ migration over North America.

Their travels led them from Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Québec, across the United States and to the province of Michoacan, México, into the mountains where the monarchs gather by the millions every year around the Day of the Dead. Meandering their way across the backroads of the continent, stopping to interact with the people of various towns, big and small, the artists kept a poetic record of their journey and encounters.

In the coming months, their regular paper postings to a transfrontier correspondent in Montréal, webmaster Ghassan Fayad, will be reshaped into an online version of their cross-border odyssey. You can keep abreast of this upcoming serial by registering at

Monarch Vector

Keep your eyes on CitizenShift for more on this fascinating trajectory…

Category : Uncategorized

Student Intern Wanted!

CitizenShift is looking for a summer intern to start ASAP! This is a special human resources initiative and specific conditions apply. Please see below.

If you’re interested, write to us immediately at: citizen{at}nfb{dot}ca


As one of the special measures under its Employment Equity Program, the National Film Board of Canada is offering a summer job with CitizenShift, an interactive Web site in the English Program branch that integrates video, written material, audio and other media and provides a space where filmmakers and citizens can share knowledge, get connected, and most importantly, debate social issues. The competition is open to Canadian students belonging to any of the three employment equity designated groups at the NFB (Aboriginal people, visible minorities and persons with disabilities). The position is intended to provide the student with work experience in his/her field of studies and paid employment during the summer of 2007.

Reporting to the Project Coordinator, the summer intern will be involved in activities related to the revamping of the Web site and production activities, such as:
* Prepares texts and images (banners and buttons) for putting online.
* Acts as liaison between external programmers and the CitizenShift team.
* Conducts testing and quality control of new site components.
* Participates in blogging about various relevant subjects.
* Makes changes in the blog templates and admin configurations.
* Researches content items for specific dossiers such as short videos, texts, photos, audio.
* Prepares materials for digitization process.
* Maintains and updates mailing lists.
* Assists in outreach activities.

* Member of one of the three employment equity-designated groups (Aboriginal people, visible minorities and persons with disabilities).
* Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
* College or University student currently enrolled in full-time studies in Film, Communications or Multimedia. (or related subject)
* Returning to school on a full-time basis in September 2007.
* Web development experience.
* Proficient in Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and Internet search tools.
* Strong sense of responsibility, initiative, tact, discretion, judgment and work ethic.
* Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to organize and manage a number of projects at once and meet tight deadlines.
* Good command of English spoken and written. Spoken French an asset.

Interested candidates with the above profile are invited to submit their resumé, accompanied by a cover letter indicating the employment equity group to which they belong and competition AB-ETCS-2007. Applications should be sent by e-mail to citizen[at]nfb[dot]ca.

Category : Uncategorized

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