Staying close to the roots, but flowering ever higher

Gender action group Dragonroot Media partners with CGA to strengthen its mission

After several years of dedication as Montreal’s feminist and gender-issue radio program, newly expanded Dragonroot Media (formerly Dragonroot Radio) has tightened ties with Concordia’s Centre for Gender Advocacy by rebranding itself as an action group in an effort to provide better services.

Originally started in the fall of 2011 and broadcasting over McGill’s CKUT 90.3 FM radio station, the show has been shining a light on gender-specific topics by reporting on events and exploring issues with activists and intellectuals.

“I feel like being part of Dragonroot for the past few years has really shaped my politics, and everybody I speak to [on the show] shapes and changes how I understand issues. It’s been pretty rewarding in that way,” said Hannah Besseau, host-turned-coordinator for the program who, among others, has been behind the move that will see Dragonroot Media, completely run by volunteers, restructured to increase its scope and resources.

The organization has always had a close relationship with the Centre for Gender Advocacy. When the Centre began looking to create a stronger bond with surrounding groups, Dragonroot’s passion came foremost to their mind and they were encouraged to apply as an action group, a designation allowing for it to receive operational and promotional funding and other benefits.

“Who better to make a better action group than Dragonroot?” asked Besseau rhetorically on the eve of last week’s fundraising concert at La Sala Rossa. She said the increased visibility of the group will allow it to reach a bigger audience and tackle larger projects, but also stressed the group will remain as it was before.

“Now that we’ve [got] an action group status, we’re hoping make our radio content better. We want to find different ways to approach gender content on the radio. We’re also working on a new website to post more things, and we’re doing a call-out for editors to produce more content.”

The recruitment drive is an effort on part of the group to remain true to its origins as a consensus-based collective but adopt an editorial model that will create several longer-lasting positions to ensure volunteers will still be able to come and go as before without interrupting content consistency. A small core of well-defined roles and positions will ensure sections of Dragonroot Media, like their blog, which has suffered from bouts of inactivity in the past, don’t re-occur. Besseau believes the permanence will enable a mentorship program to take hold that will help those interested in media and willing to assume a more prominent role in gender awareness hone their abilities and confidence.

“We really want to have a space where people can come and learn media skills, specifically for gender topics. That way, we’ll have people constantly engaging and learning. [We’ll be] putting the microphone, so to speak, in the hands of those who it would benefit.”

Dragonroot Media’s weekly radio program runs every Tuesday on CKUT 90.3 FM at 8:30 – 9 p.m. If you’re interested in contributing or keeping up to date with the project, find for them on Facebook or Twitter.

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