The ‘Digital Media Project: Youth Making Place’ (DMP) is a community-based action research and teaching project developed in collaboration with local community organizations.

The DMP encourages youth to explore place and sustainability issues that are important to them and provides youth with tools to develop their community organizing capacity through learning and practicing digital media skills.

This research asks, “What impacts do diverse youth relationships with places have on their perspectives and learning regarding environmental sustainability, and what are the implications for environment-related education?”

In particular, the research examines:

  • Youth identities across various populations (Aboriginal, transnational, settler) in the context of relationships with various local and global places
  • The relationship between youth identifications with various local and global places and their perspectives and learning in relation to environmental sustainability and/or unsustainability
  • The uses of digital media (map-making, photography, and videography) as research, education, and dissemination methods in building and mobilizing knowledge on the relationships among youth identity, place, and sustainability
  • The implications for education policy and practice in education, particularly in light of UNESCO global policy mandates and provincial Ministry of Education policy and curricula

The Digital Media Project: Youth Making Place is funded by a SSHRC Standard Grant (2011-2015).

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Youth Camps

The DMP began in winter 2011 as a pilot project with 14 youth. The youth and facilitators met 3 hours a week for 12 weeks. 

In summer 2012, the DMP ran three 5 to 9 day camps with 10-18 youth participating in each. One camp was in Beauval, SK and two were in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (one out of Aden Bowman Collegiate and the other out of the Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop).

Each group participated in a series of workshops in which they gained map-making, photography, and video skills. Workshop topics include mapping one’s communities, travel through local and global space, learning photovoice as a political tool, photographing one’s important places, and photographing community issues including in relation to sustainability issues.

Participating youth created final video projects in which they developed an overall narrative about who they are in relation to local and global places and sustainability.

The digital media projects are shared with the community via digital media screenings and an online forum.

Impacts and Outcomes

Research data include the youth’s photographs, their video projects, mapping activities, and recorded group discussions.

Visual and narrative data analysis and a parallel analysis of key global, national, and regional educational policies, will be used to develop implications for environment-related education, including UNESCO and Saskatchewan Ministry of Education policy and curricula. 

The Digital Media Project:

  • Contributes to a developing body of research examining the formation of youth identity in relation to place and explores new questions about the relevancy and implications of this relationship for environment-related learning and educational practice
  • Provides training and opportunities for local youth and community-based organizations through the research
  • Allows youth to investigate the complexity of their identities and furthers their learning and agency in relation to place and sustainability.  By comparing multiple types and stages of data, the research maps out a better understanding of diverse youth identities to inform a critical gap in the research literature
  • Will have implications for the development of UNESCO policy, national education initiatives, as well as Saskatchewan Ministry of Education policy and curricula

Mobile Laboratory

The DMP curriculum and some digital media equipment are available for loan through SERI to educators and community organizations interested in doing similar workshops with Saskatchewan youth. 

Mobile Laboratory Inquiries
Nicola Chopin
Office Manager, SERI