SAW Video History

SAW Video was initiated in 1981 as a project of the Sussex Annex Works (S.A.W.) located in Ottawa’s Byward Market. Highlights of SAW Video Coop’s early years include the Ottawa International Festival of Video Art (1983 & 1986) and the JumpstART grant was created in 1985 to assist artists new to video and continues to this day, having supported over 100 productions.

In 1988, SAW Video and SAW Gallery moved together to Arts Court, forming the multidisciplinary centre Galerie-SAW-Video. Stability in Arts Court resulted in significant growth for SAW Video in the 1990’s, growing membership and enhancing our facilities. A youth training program (1997 to 2006), introduced a new generation of video makers to the centre. In 2001, SAW Video officially separated from SAW Gallery, forming SAW Video Association.

Specific innovative successes and opportunities for media artists over the years include the development and launch of Mediatheque in 2003, an online streaming platform (beating Youtube by two years) featuring 500 films/videos by Canadian independent media artists; Far Out Locations brings video workshops to priority neighbourhoods across Ottawa since 2007; Public Domain, a national commissioning project in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada (2009-10); Spark Lab, a video training/creation program for Deaf and disabled artists (2017); Knot Projections: Imagining Publics– a large-scale public projection series that took place throughout Ottawa from July to November 2019.

SAW Video is the largest media arts centre in Eastern Ontario and one of the largest in the country. In early 2018 SAW Video moved out of the basement to its new expanded location (expanding from 2000 sq ft to 5000 sq ft), as a result of the Arts Court re-development. SAW Video is now fully wheelchair accessible and able to provide increased and high quality services to the media arts community. The new facilities include: Knot project space (Ottawa’s first and only media arts designated presentation space); a state of the art surround sound audio suite and recording studio; purpose built designated workshop space, tripling our education capacity; and the LOOP, a collaborative and experimental learning- and work-space, available to SAW Video producing members, Arts Court tenants and our organizational members: other local arts related non-profits.ilt, much expanded facility on the main floor of Arts Court.