The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is pleased to announce the promotion of Ursula Lawson, effective immediately. She now takes the management lead on NSI Business for Producers and NSI New Northern Voices.
Ursula, manager of programs and development, is now in charge of running NSI’s largest training program – NSI Business for Producers – through which she will guide 21 Canadian creators (via a digital platform) as they receive customized, one-on-one mentorship, nurture creative ideas and navigate the logistics and legalities of screen-based storytelling in a COVID environment.
Under Ursula’s management, NSI New Northern Voices – designed to eliminate barriers for northern residents wishing to access creative media arts training – is intersecting with NSI Business for Producers to provide a fast-track for one alumnus who will develop their emerging producing skills alongside experienced industry professionals. The producer will then work with regional writers to develop and produce a project in northern Manitoba.
Having worked at NSI for over 16 years, Ursula is one of the organization’s longest-serving staff members. She began her employment as office manager in 2004 and progressed to program manager responsible for a range of training programs.
“Ursula has an incredibly rich history with the National Screen Institute, its participants and faculty, and she brings that depth of knowledge to everything she does,” said Joy Loewen, NSI’s CEO. “She has an innate ability to nurture others which is the perfect quality to best meet the needs of NSI’s students and alumni. This promotion is the natural next step for Ursula.”
“Reflecting on the evolution of NSI and my own journey, I am grateful for the many opportunities the organization has provided,” said Ursula. “I’m honoured to be working on new programs, particularly those which embrace diverse voices.”
“This new, virtual space has opened many doors and possibilities for the training we provide, the faculty we engage, and the intimate setting we can still create for our students to develop and nurture their careers.”
Ursula now leads a slate of other training initiatives including the NSI/FTM Manitoba Content Creators Development Accelerator and the mentorship, development and delivery of projects for TELUS STORYHIVE.
She was instrumental in developing and delivering training to emerging Indigenous storytellers. In 2013 Ursula was honoured to receive the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Circle of Inspiration Award along with colleagues Lisa Meeches and Melissa Kajpust for their contribution to CBC New Indigenous Voices. In 2019, Ursula was nominated for the Winnipeg Arts Council Making a Difference award which celebrates contributions to the growth and development of the arts in Winnipeg.
Ursula previously managed CBC New Indigenous Voices, NSI IndigiDocs and NSI Aboriginal Journalism. She also coordinated NSI Global Marketing, NSI Totally Television, NSI Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative and NSI Pitch to Win! Ursula is secretary of the NSI Board of Directors.