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Sylvia D. Hamilton

Doctor of Letters

A writer and film maker, Sylvia Hamilton has contributed to a greater understanding of African Nova Scotia heritage. Born in Beechville, Halifax County, she has brought the life experiences of African Nova Scotians, particularly women, to the mainstream of Canadian Arts. She achieved this chiefly thought her award winning work in documentary film, but also through her many publications and volunteer work with several social action organizations.

She has belonged to numerous organizations and committees including the Canadian Council?s Second Advisory Committee for Racial Equality in the Arts; Board of Directors, Canadian Artists Network; Black Artists in Action; the Mayor?s Committee to Promote the Arts in Halifax; the Black Cultural Society; and the Congress of Black Women of Canada, to name but a few.

Ms. Hamilton received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and Sociology from Acadia University in 1972, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree programme at Dalhousie University.

While employed in a variety of positions, involving social development, she augmented her academic education with courses on filmmaking and directing. Throughout the 1970s, she worked as a radio journalist for private stations and also did freelance work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Her first film, BLACK MOTHER BLACK DAUGHTER, produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 1989, was seen in over forty film festivals throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe, including the Festival of Festivals in Toronto. It received two awards.

SPEAK IT! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia, a documentary about Black youth, Black history, racism, and collective action, was honoured with a Gemini Award in 1994, one of the highest awards for film work in Canada.

She has also won a number of other significant awards, including the Japan Prize in the International Educational Program Contest, Tokyo, in 1994; as well as at the Margaret Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural History, New York, in 1993.

Recently, she was a Program Consultant and filmmaker with the National Film Board of Canada?s Atlantic Centre; and Studio D, the Women?s Studio in Montreal.