Rita Deverell

Rita Deverell was the 12th holder of Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. A theatre artist and an independent television producer/director, she is also a founder of Vision TV.

Rita Shelton Deverell, C.M., Ed.D. was the 12th holder of the Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University from July 2009 to June 2012. She holds a BA in Philosophy (Adelphi), a MA in the History of Religions (Columbia), and her doctoral thesis (OISE/University of Toronto) focused on arts policy for children.

Deverell is a theatre artist, independent television producer/director, a founder of Vision TV, was the first woman to lead a journalism program in Canada as acting Director of the University of Regina's Journalism School in the 1980s, and concluded her term as News Director at APTN in 2005 where she mentored her Aboriginal successor. She was CanWest Global Fellow at the University of Western Ontario and Storyteller in Residence at Centennial College's Centre for Creative Communication. In 2010 Deverell's play McCarthy and the Old Woman had a first production by the School of Drama, University of Washington, which meant its central character appeared on the same stage from which she was blacklisted during the cold war 60 years ago. Deverell is the author, editor, or major contributor to seven books and producer/director/writer of eight independent TV titles. In 2016 her multi-media e-learning kit Women, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues, and Resistance was acquired by the  National Film Board’s CAMPUS  portal giving it widespread North American distribution.

Deverell serves on several boards and advisory committees, including MediaSmarts, the campaign cabinet of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, is an Adjudicator at Large for the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, and in 2015-16  a Mentor for the Canadian Senior Artists Research Network (CSARN). Her many honours include two Geminis, the Black Women's Civic Engagement Leadership Award, and membership in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Her 2005 Order of Canada citation says in part: "Rita Deverell's career in journalism has been one of pioneering innovation and creativity. With an unceasing drive for social justice, she is one of the first Black women in Canada to be a television host and a network executive... An inspiring mentor and teacher, she serves as a role model for young journalists and audiences alike."

  • March 7, 2018
    On 6 March 2018, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) named 2011 Foundation mentor Rita Deverell the 2018 ACTRA National Woman of the Year. Just two days ahead of International Women’s Day, this nomination rewards Deverell’s numerous artistic and advocacy achievements as well as her decades-long passion for supporting women and the under-represented in the Canadian audiovisual industry.
  • February 13, 2017
    In January 2017, 2011 Trudeau mentor Rita Deverell was appointed a trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum for a three-year term by Order in Council of the Premier of Ontario. Find out more
  • April 14, 2016
    “Women, Contemporary Indigenous Issues, and Resistance” is the title of the new educational multimedia kit produced by Rita Deverell, 2011 Trudeau mentor and member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Society Executive Committee. This tool aims to strip away fears and stigmas that keep people from speaking openly about Indigenous issues. Designed for sharing, the kit includes five print pieces and an 83-minute video.
  • June 25, 2013
    2011 Trudeau mentor Rita Deverell is the principal investigator and project director of Women, Contemporary Aboriginal Issues, and Resistance, a free interactive curriculum on what it is like to grown up Aboriginal in Canada, launched at Mount Saint Vincent University in June 2013 and now available online. 
  • April 11, 2011
    Rita Deverell, character in radio drama Backbencher, CBC Radio One and Sirius satellite radio