Introduction to SkyWorks (5 mins)

To view a longer film about SkyWorks (44 mins) please click here

SkyWorks is a catalyst, advocate and participant in social change through community centred film making and public engagement.

SkyWorks Charitable Foundation was established in 1983 as a non-profit documentary organization dealing with contemporary social issues. The process of creating the films and the subsequent dissemination is a community development effort, working with local, regional, and national groups, to create strategies for social change.

We focus on documentary and community development projects in four program areas:

  • Working with children and families as a force for social change
  • Promoting recovery by challenging stereotypes and systemic barriers with people experiencing mental health issues
  • Informing and supporting community engagement in health care policies and practices
  • Documenting barriers and exploring alternative approaches to accessing justice, preventing discrimination and ensuring fairness within the various legal systems (e.g. criminal, family, child welfare, welfare, housing, immigration, employment and labour) that structure the lives of persons belonging to particular marginalized communities.

It is crucial to emphasize that the projects are not simply filmmaking endeavours. Community development and capacity building activities are integrated seamlessly into all phases of the project: research, production and the public engagement activities. From a project's inception we work in close collaboration with the individuals and organizations dealing with the articulated issues so that the documentaries are not only about them--they are with them and by them. A sense of ownership is shared collectively.

At SkyWorks, we work hard to encourage the participation of Canadians in response to issues and concerns that affect their lives. We believe that our own personal experiences, our collective, lived experience, is the source of the most innovative and effective strategies for dealing with those issues.

Communities linked by common concern are best able to express and represent their needs. The documentary and community development process that is the foundation of our organization's work is built on alliances and partnerships with others who share similar goals.

In fact, we are successful only because of these partnerships - partnerships with community organizations, special interest groups, working professionals, and with individual Canadians with stories to share. Over the years these networks have matured and extended across the country, permitting SkyWorks to collaborate successfully from coast to coast.

Participants in SkyWorks' films drive the research and participate in the production, editing, test screenings, and finally the long-term community use of the completed documentaries. We believe in the importance of peer leadership and we foster its development. In preparation for our work in local communities, we train documentary participants to function as peer facilitators and advocates.

SkyWorks supports networks, groups and individuals to take good ideas, grow those ideas, and share their knowledge, experiences and strategies.

SkyWorks received the Henry Hampton Award for Innovation and Excellence in Film & Digital Media for the Kids Care Project. Nominated by one of SkyWorks' primary funders, The Lawson Foundation, the award was bestowed by the Council on Foundations based in Washington D.C. in 2007.