Filmmaker, journalist, author, and former human rights attorney Michèle Stephenson is bringing her expertise and experience in inclusive storytelling to UBC students as the School’s Asper visiting professor.
During her time at UBC, she is lecturing in journalism and film classes, as well as giving a public talk at UBC Robson, drawing on her commitment to producing personal and human stories that are too often excluded from mainstream media.
“The student body is very open to asking tough questions, it seems to me, and surrounded by really strong faculty too,” Stephenson said.
“A lot of discussion has been about interrogating yourself and your own position and your own baggage in how you tell stories,” she added.
Coming to UBC was also an opportunity for Stephenson to reconnect with Canada. She currently lives in New York but spent formative years in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
“I felt this was an opportunity for me to get to know another part of the country that I had never seen before,” she said.
Complex storytelling and accountability
Together with her husband, Joe Brewster, Stephenson founded the Rada Film Group. Their mission is “to create compelling visual stories that provoke thought about the complex multicultural world we exist in.”
“We live in a system that perpetuates inequities,” said Stephenson. “All of the institutions and practices that emerge have that engrained. Journalism is not exempt. The extractive model that it perpetuates sometimes, with the norms we need to abide by, also need to be questioned.”
Stephenson will address these and more questions in her upcoming public lecture entitled Beyond Inclusion: Building Narratives of Liberation. In her talk, Stephenson explores how her personal life experiences have shaped not only her work, art, and how she sees the world, but also how they have required her to be accountable for her actions — conscious or not.
She asks, “Can we achieve personal or social transformation without interrogating our own complicity in maintaining inequitable structures we are a part of?” Stephenson thinks not.
The talk will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 in the HSBC Theatre at UBC Robson Square.
Please RSVP on Eventbrite.