Networks and Abstract

It’s hard to believe that two and a half weeks have gone by since my Masters defense! Since then, I have had the (40 page) thesis support document copy-edited and I have put together a DVD of all the installation media content–both of which were submitted to the Image Arts department last Thursday. Next glorious day: my graduation ceremony in the fall.

At this moment, I am sitting on a park bench under a canape in The Laurentians of Quebec. The birds are chirping, it’s partly cloudy and there’s a cool breeze cutting through the warm 26 degree temperature that envelopes the picturesque hills and country homes cascading throughout this region. How delightful. How refreshing. How …confusing.

OK so, today I’m more educated than I was two years ago, I’m excited by my accomplishments and anxious for the next big project to come. What’s confusing is the sudden halt of project-specific thoughts and ideas that have consumed my mind for the last two years. Ahhh… but now isn’t that the condition that pulls graduates back into the education system? “Now go do your PhD!” friends say, to which I say “Are you nuts?!” I’ll tell ya though, if it were not for the debt I’d be doing a Phd in a flash simply to benefit from the structure, support and fruitful networks that inspire creation.

I’m going to emphasize support here. Out in the big world we need support systems, and the initial contrast between being in school and the day of completion makes this need very evident. We need to have a network where our ideas can be shared, disputed and tested; but now, doesn’t this sound like a summary of my thesis/blog as a whole? We need to have people in our lives that encourage us and provide constructive criticism along the way.

The developments that arise in my world of education and documentary media will shape the next phase of this blog. For now, I’d like to share with you segments of my thesis text beginning with the abstract. If you wish to obtain a copy and/or dialogue about the project, I’d love to hear from you.


Wired to Learn (WTL) is a documentary-media project composed of a site-specific art-installation and a blog that aims to harness the opinions and experiences of learners and educators from select public, private, and alternative high schools in Montreal (Quebec) and Toronto (Ontario). The blog follows the trajectory of my research on the subject of high school education, along with the development of the site-specific art-installation. The two documentary-media environments were produced with the objective of sharing content and engaging with audiences in alternative ways. While the blog offers greater potential for sustaining outreach and discussion, the art-installation creates an opportunity for intimate dialogue and artistic expression, and stimulates an encounter between art practice and secondary education. Each medium addresses a distinctively different form of audience engagement. WTL explores what documentary making can become in the twenty-first century, a century that has already seen significant changes in participatory, documentary media practices. WTL is an experimental transmedia documentary that deploys social media, podcasting, and site-specific installation, and embodies a narrative that evolved at the intersection of auto-ethnography, visual-art, media arts, experience design, participatory processes, and social media



Front page image: Autumn in The Laurentians source

About cayoup

Colleen Ayoup was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She has been engaged in media creation for nearly twenty years. After attending the Dawson Institute of Photography (Montreal), she worked as a commercial photographer for several years until the craving for different creative pursuits gave way. This desire led to two subsequent degrees in Psychology/Film Studies and Film Production (B.A., B.F.A) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her short fiction films and documentary, Kings (2001), about drag-king culture in Montreal toured festivals internationally. In 2004, she joined the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated Doc Shop, a program designed to give emerging filmmakers an opportunity to learn trade skills from industry professionals and produce a short documentary for broadcast on CBC. She also contributed to the development and creation of CitizenShift (, the NFB’s first social-media website that she subsequently coordinated for five years. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)