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Exploring Inuit Artistic Voice about Arctic Environmental and Sea Ice Change

The purpose of this doctoral research is to engage with artists to explore the perspectives of Inuit artists about environmental change, specifically climate change and its impact on sea ice, and to better appreciate how artistic expression can help communities, scientists and policy makers to navigate environmental change. The research goal is too learn about, and bring attention to, Inuit artistic responses to Arctic environmental and sea ice change (e.g. drawings, songs, sculpture). This project will assess how art and artistic process may serve as a method, strategy or approach to connect ways of knowing (e.g. scientific, Inuit). Finally, the project will provide insights about how Inuit artistic perspectives can inform science and policy.

Project summary

Art and artistic processes help bridge knowledge systems, and, by doing so, contribute to understanding change and translating that under of change into action. Our objectives are to learn about and leverage arts and art making to:

1) Examine the role of art in understanding and making sense of Arctic environmental and sea ice change

2) Engage with local artists and youth to create an artistic pieces on the theme of Arctic change

3) Assess how art and artistic process may service as a menthod, straegy or approach to bridge knowldege systems (e.g. youth-elder; scientific-Inuit)

Project Dates:

July 14, 2015 - December 31, 2015

Project Location

The communities of Cape Dorset and Pangnirtung are the focus of this study because both communities maintain art making as an important cultural/economic focus.


KaitlynRathwell, BA,MSc.PhDCan.

Dept.of Environment and Resource Studies
University of Waterloo
17 Park St. Apt.2
Kitchener, Ontario
N2G 1M4 Canada
519 222 7146


We would like to thank everyone who participated in this project. In particular we thank Jojo Aningmiuq, Andrew Kilabuk and Omalluk Oshutsiaq for local research assistance and field translation. Cape Dorset art co-op and Pangnirtung Hamlet generously provided housing during our time in Nunavut. It is an honour to make new friendships and learn with Inuit elders, hunters and youth.