Teaching, Mentoring and Public Speaking

I love teaching, mentoring and providing guidance for emerging and experienced documentary film makers. I have written and spoken extensively about documentary theory, practice and media ethics.

Throughout my career, I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses, often using my films, research materials and related support materials. My goal has been to animate research and strategies to challenge institutional, public and professional conversations about timely social issues. 

I am an experienced and provocative keynote speaker.

I excel at community-based participatory research and collaborative writing.

My interests include the correlation between ethics, policies and practices in popular media, health care, the justice system, and a variety of public and private sector work places.  
I have also facilitated professional training and community development workshops, working with front line community and health care workers, peer support organizations and first responders.

I have taught and mentored documentary students and practitioners in Canada and Sweden, in post-secondary programs at universities, colleges, and in professional development programs. I have been an Associate Professor of Film Studies at Queen’s University and at Ryerson University. I have also taught undergraduate courses at York University. I was a frequent lecturer at interdisciplinary events at Laurentian University. For ten years, I was a guest teacher at the Dramatic Institute, a program of The Swedish Film Institute and travelled throughout that country on speaking and teaching tours.

At Sheridan College I worked as a Senior Documentarian collaborating with the Departments of Applied Health and Community Studies and the Film Program to create The Community Builders Program. We conducted interdisciplinary classes, large seminars, small workshops and produced two student-driven documentaries.

This work has created learning opportunities for participants to ask the bigger questions, to realize that they are not alone in their concerns or their hopes. Our learning events and documentaries have generated intense discussions, and often motivated people to take action. At those times, they learn that solutions are not just about survival but also about connecting with and inspiring others to engage in social change.

Laura’s documentaries and her teaching stir people to think outside the box – to continue to think and process what they have actually witnessed. They have questions and they are looking for answers. Questions that they would never have had if it had not been for the documentary.

Sue McCoy
Educator and Counsellor, former Police Officer

Starting her career in 1972 in the National Film Board of Canada’s “Challenge for Change” program, Laura Sky is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers.

She believes that filmmaking and screening are community events: she makes films to inform and to engage community-based social change. …Sky’s model of filmmaking exemplifies that films can orchestrate conversations within communities, and, consequently, they can function as active ingredients in social transformation.

Her films serve to increase public awareness of both social issues and problems, deepening our understanding of people whose lives are touched by life-altering circumstances and social forces.

Dr. Hoi F. Cheu
Full Professor, Department of English, Laurentian University
Science Communication, Rural and Northern Health Research