Sylvia D. Hamilton
Sylvia D. Hamilton is a Nova Scotian filmmaker, writer, multi-media artist and educator who is known for her award-winning documentary films as well as her publications, public presentations, and extensive volunteer work with artistic, social, and cultural organizations at the local and national levels. Her work explores the history, contributions and experiences of African Canadians. Her films, Black Mother Black Daughter, Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, and Portia White: Think on Me, have garnered critical and public praise. Another film, The Little Black School House, that unearths the story of the women, men and children who studied and taught at Canada’s racially segregated schools, is widely used in schools and universities across Canada. She has been an invited filmmaker and keynote speaker for conferences in variety of venues in Canada and abroad.
She has served on numerous local, provincial and national boards and committees including the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s Expert Advisory Group – Canadian Content in a Digital World. (2016) and the Content Advisory Committee for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. (2009)
And I Alone Escaped to Tell You (2014), her poetry collection, was a finalist for national and regional awards. Excavation: A Site of Memory, a multi-media installation, showed in galleries and museums in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. One adaptation titled Here We Are Here, gave its name to the 2018 Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) National group exhibition titled, Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art, which later toured to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Ms. Hamilton believes that individuals can make a difference by helping create the conditions that enable others to learn and achieve. And she lives her beliefs. She has taught filmmaking workshops and created training positions on her projects for young people. She was co-founder of the innovative National Film Board’s New Initiatives in Film Program designed to provide women of colour and First Nations women with opportunities to make films.
She brought her rich and varied experiences and creative drive to the Women’s Television Network (WTN) Foundation where she chaired the board of directors. Ms. Hamilton has been saluted with many awards and recognitions including several honorary degrees. In January 2020 she received the Governor General’s Award in History (Popular Media, The Pierre Berton Award).
She graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Arts and with a Master of Arts in Education from Dalhousie University. She was appointed the Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University (2001-2004), and until recently held the Roger’s Chair in Communications at the University of King’s College.