Sylvia D. Hamilton is a multi awarding Nova Scotian filmmaker and writer who is known for her documentary films as well as her publications, public presentations and extensive volunteer work with artistic, social and cultural organizations on the local and national levels. She was born in Beechville, Nova Scotia, a community founded by the Black Refugees from the War of 1812. She has a BA from Acadia University, an MA from Dalhousie University and has been awarded three honourary degrees in recognition of her work. She held Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and has lectured widely at universities in Canada and at Middlebury College, Vermont, and at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Her awards include a Gemini, the CBC Pioneer Award, the Portia White Prize, the Baha’i Community of Canada’s Race Unity Award and the Progress Women of Excellence Award for Arts and Culture.
Her films and writing explore the interlaced themes of race, identity, gender and history and have been screened in multiple festivals, in schools and universities and on television. They include Black Mother Black Daughter,Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, Portia White: Think on Me, and The Little Black School House.
She has worked with organizations involved with youth, housing, health, the arts and women’s equality. Her writing appears in a variety of journals and anthologies.
She believes that individuals, working alone and collectively can make a difference by challenging inequality of all kinds, and working to create the conditions that enable others to grow and achieve. She has taught filmmaking workshops and created training positions on her projects for young people. She co-created the New Initiatives in Film (NIF) Program for women of colour and First Nations women at the NFB, chaired the Women in Media Foundation and was a member of the Canada Council’s Second Racial Equity Advisory Committee that advocated for major policy changes to ensure that artists of colour would have equal access to Council grants and programs. She was a 2008 Mentor with the Trudeau Foundation and recently served on the new Canadian Museum For Human Rights’ Content Advisory Committee (CAC) where she created the idea for, and executive produced the CAC’s 2010 Video Report which can be viewed on-line at YouTube. She teaches in the Journalism School at the University of King’s College in Halifax. (via Sylvia D. Hamilton)