New International Partnership Showcases Inuit Perspectives on Climate Change

Vista of Kinngait in Nunavut courtesy Our People, Our Climate participant Peter Lucassie, who took his inspiration from the community’s surrounding big hills, after which it is named.

Our People, Our Climate:
West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative is pleased to partner with Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, ilinniapaa Skills Development Centre Iqaluit and University of Minnesota Duluth on a ground-breaking documentary film initiative showcasing the Inuit art of Kinngait (Cape Dorset) alongside the storytelling skills of Nunavut Inuit youth and young adults. Inuit communities in Canada’s Arctic are the forefront of our current climate change discussions, and this program brings together a range of Inuit creative expression to tell important stories through a unique and distinct cultural lens.

“We are very pleased to participate in this dynamic and multifaceted partnership,” says West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative President Pauloosie Kowmageak. “The Inuit artists of Kinngait have a long history of documenting the land around them, and their artwork will provide important insights on climate change for the viewers of this exceptional film production.”

Entitled Our People, Our Climate, the project is both an artistic showcase and skills develop program. Youth and young adult participants will learn the art of documentary storytelling using still photography, videography, drone aerial technology and interview techniques taught through an online training platform hosted by the ilinniapaa Skills Development Centre.

Additional curriculum development on digital photography and video techniques and ongoing mentorship will be provided by University of Minnesota Duluth, to assist participants in engaging with their local community as they capture audio and visual evidence of the localized effects of climate change.

The results of this training initiative will be the basis of a film program to be screened at Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow during the annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Complimenting the contributions of youth and young adult trainees from communities across Nunavut, will be special imagery commissioned for the project by the artist members of the famed West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative. Renowned for their unique aesthetic, particularly in depictions of the land and environment, Kinngait artists will provide their inimitable creative voice to this climate change film exposé.

“This dynamic partnership is an excellent example of collaboration on many levels while pioneering mentorship,” says David Joanasie, Member of Legislative Assembly for South Baffin. “I look forward to the results of this training initiative and I am excited that both our youth and Kinngait artists will have the chance to share their perspectives on climate change with an international audience.”

The program partners wish to acknowledge the generous contributions of Kakivak Association and ilinniapaa’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program, which supports training and work placement wage subsidy.

Information: whuffman@westbaffin.com or 416-985-0452

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, has been a hub for visual art, film, performance, festivals and literature since 1992 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017. Previously home to The Third Eye Centre, the building is steeped in history and the organisation has played a key role in the cultural life of the city for decades. CCA’s year-round programme includes exhibitions, film, music, literature, spoken word, festivals, Gaelic language events, and talks. With building admissions of 202,082 in 2018-19, the venue hosted 207 programme partners across 958 events. CCA’s public engagement programme welcomed 537 people participating in 19 events. CCA also provides residencies for artists in the on-site Creative Lab space. CCA curates six major exhibitions a year, presenting national and international contemporary artists, and is home to Intermedia Gallery which showcases emerging artists. CCA is supported by Creative Scotland and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership.

cca-glasgow.com

ilinniapaa Skills Development Centre (iSDC) is a Nunavut-resident, Nunavut-based NNI firm providing accredited and competency-based skills development training. Since 2015, iSDC has designed and delivered pre-employment training and work placement programs for youth 15 to 30 years of age. In 2019-20, Environment Canada funded the development of Our People, Our Climate: Climate Change in Nunavut, which received national accreditation and credit recognition, and is available free of charge to all Canadians through the federal funding. iSDC is collaborating with University of Minnesota and West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative to enhance the online program to provide professional digital skills training and mentoring and for wage subsidies for youth employment opportunities.

http://ilinniapaa-training.ca

University of Minnesota Duluth Bachelor of Arts Program in Cultural Entrepreneurship (CUE) prepares students and community members for careers in the cultural industries and creative economy. Cultural entrepreneurship is an emerging discipline that examines how cultural products (such as art, theatre, literature and all digital media) and cultural activities (like sports, music, food and film events) have an impact on the growth of local, national, and global economies. The degree program is designed for Liberal Arts students to develop the critical business, entrepreneurship, creativity and intercultural skills necessary to participate in the booming culture and creative economy. CUE program founder and faculty member Dr. Olaf Kuhlke also collaborates with community organizations worldwide (United States, Canada, Morocco, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) to deliver accessible entrepreneurship, digital technology and acceleration programming. Currently he is partnering with Ilinniapaa, the University of St. Thomas and West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative to contribute to a new digital skills program entitled Youth Employment and Skills Strategy – Our people, Our Climate, and with the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative to create and deliver a documentary film on Arctic Climate Change, for the United Nations Conference of Parties in 2021.

cla.d.umn.edu

Kakivak Association is a community economic development organization serving Inuit by providing programs and services to enhance the strengths of communities in the Qikiqtani Region. The programming includes support for daycares and early childhood education, opportunities for youth, access to education and training, career services and business development.

kakivak.ca

Established in 1959, West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative has enjoyed an international reputation for the exquisite prints, drawings and carvings created by its Inuit artist members. In addition to operation of the Kinngait Studios at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre in Kinngait, the cooperative maintains a Toronto marketing division office, Dorset Fine Arts, which is responsible for interfacing with galleries, museums, cultural professionals, Inuit art enthusiasts and the art market globally. The role of West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative has significantly expanded to include communications, promotion, advocacy, government relations and special projects as related to the Inuit art of Kinngait. Governed by an all-Inuit Board of Directors, the organization also maintains a local retail grocery/hardware store, a restaurant, rental properties and various utility contracts. As a community owned organization, practically all Kinngait adults are shareholders, profits are distributed back to the community in the form of annual dividends.

westbaffin.com