CACTUS and Carleton University Partner to Host First National Community Media Conference

The Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations and Carleton University will host the first national digital community media conference November 22-24 in Ottawa.

CACTUS' plans to host a professional and policy development conference to bring together community TV, radio, online and gaming pracitioners with the general public, researchers and policy-makers was first announced at the People's Social Forum in Ottawa in 2014. Since then, plans have progressed apace. Researcher Kirsten Kozolanka of the School of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University agreed to partner with CACTUS in order that the conference could be held centrally in Ottawa, easily accessible to government agencies whose policies affect community media, including the CRTC, Canadian Heritage, and Industry Canada.

The goals of the conference include exploring:

  • best practices in the digital environment, ways in which the divisions between traditional community media such as community TV and radio are breaking down, and the need for new strategies to serve communities online. Also to be explored is the way in which youth and new demographics are increasingly developing media literacy skills through gaming.
  • new policy directions needed to support community media in the multiplatform environment.

Thanks to a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) the conference will be maximally accessible for researchers and practitioners to attend from all parts of the country.

Catherine Edwards, CACTUS' spokesperson commented, "Thanks to the support of sponsors including our member channels, the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Communications Workers of America - Canada, the Canadian Media Producers Association, ACTRA, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, SmartChange,, IMAA, the Federation des television communautaire autonomes du Quebec and SSHRC, we will be able to offer travel and accommodation support for presenters. We're really delighted. This is a pivotal time for community media, and we need all heads at the table to come up with new directions in practice and policy."

The intent of the conference is to allow a broad forum for exploration prior to the CRTC's plans to review its 2010 community television policy.