2014 OUTtv Scholarship Winner Inspired by Sochi & Vancouver’s LGBT Community

2014 OUTtv Scholarship Winner Inspired by Sochi & Vancouver’s LGBT Community

This year’s OUTtv scholarship winner is Bettsina Walkinson, who won for her transmedia project proposal that was inspired by the events in Sochi and Vancouver's LGBT community.

The OUTtv scholarship is valued at $5,000 and is awarded every year to a current Master of Digital Media student who demonstrates good academic achievement and proposes a compelling project in digital media that explores areas of cultural, ethnic or gender-identity diversity in the LGBT community.

Bettsina, a visual artist and musician from Mexico, won with her project Quiver. Motivated by the recent events in Sochi and the diversity that she's experienced here in Canada, Quiver is a website where visitors can buy pro-LGBT postcards to send to friends and family.

Visitors to the site choose from a catalogue of postcards that on one side have a quote from either a movie, a book or a song that could be placed in the context of LGBT propaganda and, on the other side, say "Love from Sochi."

People can send these postcards to friends and family and, when friends and family receive the postcard, they also get a postcard to send along to someone else. The postcards are meant to be a response to the anti-gay propaganda that was happening in Sochi as well as in other parts of the world.

Bettsina and OUTtv are working together on starting the project on OUTtv's website and within their existing online community.

Brad Danks, Chief Operating Officer from OUTtv said, "Our decision came down to two applicants both of whom we found to be very impressive. However we thought Bettsina's concept was more original and had a more interesting digital media component."

Originally from Mexico, Bettsina says that Vancouver's LGBT community is very different from what she's used to:

In Mexico, there is still a lot of discrimination towards gay people—it might be more psychological than physical, but it is still there. Mexicans need to be loud in order to fight. In Canada, people don't need to do that. Here people don't care, it's part of every day life.

With what was happening at the Sochi Olympics was interesting because in other places of the world everyone's supposed to be equal and for them, equal means the same. Here in Vancouver, you're equal within your diversity.

I wanted to pass that message along with my project—it's not about gay rights, it's about spreading that idea that equality means accepting diversity.

We have a number of industry sponsors like OUTtv here at the Centre for Digital Media that are supportive of our students and their innovative ideas.

When asked what value OUTtv gets out of the partnership, Danks replied:

We just love the CDM and their students. While we are a traditional television network, we have also been on the cutting edge of digital media and are very interested in experimenting with new ideas. We are always inspired by both the students and staff at the CDM, which is why we continue to support the program with our annual scholarship. We want to be where the new ideas are coming from.

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About the OUTtv Scholarship

Valued at $5,000, the OUTtv Scholarship recognizes the academic achievement of a full-time graduate student enrolled in the Master of Digital Media program, and their proposed research/project work in digital media exploring the areas of cultural, ethnic or gender-identity diversity in the lesbian/gay/bi/trans (LGBT) community. Preference will be given to applicants who are self-identified as gay, lesbian, bi, or trans. Should no student from the LGBT community apply for this award, the OUTtv Award may be given to an applicant who meets the remaining criteria.

Students can either apply for this award, or be nominated by faculty, staff or students of the Great Northern Way Campus community.

For more information, visit our Scholarships Page.