Indigenous content creator selected to participate in new program
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
When Crystal Harrison Collin first decided to create a presence for herself on TikTok, she turned to the experts…her kids. As Collin recounts, their reaction wasn’t necessarily enthusiasm. “It’s funny because my teenagers tease me like ‘What…? Mom!’ It’s my daughter, my 16-year-old daughter, that actually helped me navigate through TikTok when I first started my account. I said ‘well, how do you do these things? And this? And that…?’ and when she showed me, I had a knack for it.”
Now with 11.7 thousand followers, (as Collin jokes, ‘that’s a little more than the population of Sioux Lookout’), Collin’s willingness to experiment with new technology seems to have paid off. She was recently one of only 30 creators across Canada selected to participate in the first TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators, presented by the National Screen Institute (NSI).
As Liz Hover, NSI Director of Communications, explains, “We don’t publish application numbers for any of our programs but I can tell you we received a record-breaking number for this initiative. At the National Screen Institute, we serve and help develop the gifts of Indigenous creators. Audiences in Canada and around the world need to hear and better understand the lived experiences of Indigenous storytellers now more than ever. By partnering with TikTok Canada to deliver this accelerator program, we hope to empower Indigenous creators with today’s tools to tell their stories and reach global audiences”
So, what exactly is an accelerator program? As Draper University describes it, an accelerator program as a sort of “boot camp for market readiness and development, a short-term growth program that promotes a few years of growth in the span of a few months.”
As Collin explains, “I’m one of 30 Indigenous content creators selected for the TikTok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators. It’s a new online training program, designed to empower storytellers and also to help us grow our TikTok presence, and learn new skills. We’ve been selected from across Canada, and were chosen by an independent jury of screen industry professionals and some other Indigenous TikTok creators. Also, there was input from TikTok Canada.” Collin continued, “It’s being presented by the National Screen Institute (NSI), and the program will be a skills-based education session, so it’s probably going to take us through the (TikTok) app and educate us on how to utilize it to its fullest potential. There will be hands on exercises, connections with professional industry experts, and our peers.”
Of course, being aimed at Indigenous creators, there will be a traditional element as well, with sharing circles being led an Elder from Manitoba.
When asked how she first heard of the program, Collin explained, “It was advertised by one of the Indigenous content creators who has a very big following on TikTok, she is actually an advisor (for the accelerator) and an Indigenous content creator, Sherry McKay. Native TikTok knows who Sherry McKay is, she has a huge following. She made a TikTok and announced the program coming up, and she encouraged native TikTok to apply.” Collin continued, “I’ve shared Indigenous content on my personal TikTok, as a way to educate others in a really good way, a friendly way, an open, welcoming way. Some of my content has been to educate, but also, I like to goof around sometimes and have fun. I wasn’t too sure I would even be considered. I gave it shot, I submitted my resume and my experience with storytelling and I was selected, so I was excited! They sent us a sneak peek of our schedule, and it looks really exciting. Every week is filled with different classes” Collin is one of only seven other Ontario creators on the list, and as mentioned above, one of only 30 chosen from across Canada, to participate.
“We start November 8 and goes till December 17 and then we’ll have a graduation. I think it’s very exciting to be one of the only participants to be selected from Northwestern Ontario, just to be a role model for our youth to chase their dreams and just go for it.” Finished Collin, adding, “Native TikTok is huge, we have a huge following on the app.”
You can follow Crystal Harrison Collin on TikTok at https://bit.ly/3BIAmWx.