The University of Winnipeg, in collaboration with Concordia University, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery – Qaumajuq, presents the Inuit Studies Conference 2022: Auviqsaqtut, from Sunday, June 19 – Wednesday, June 22. Conference co-organizers include UWinnipeg’s Dr. Julie Nagam and Concordia’s Dr. Heather Igloliorte.
Auviqsaqtuq [Ouuuv-vick-suk-took], can be translated to cutting blocks to make an iglu, or working together to build an iglu. Auviqsaqtuq evokes themes of collaboration, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, sharing intergenerational knowledge, and building something together.
The conference begins with a keynote lecture by Juno Award-Winning Inuk Singer/Songwriter Susan Aglukark, and continues with a range of keynote speakers on art, language, health, governance and reconciliation, climate and youth, from across the north including Nunavut and Greenland.
“One of the things I am most proud of with this Inuit Studies Conference, in particular, is our strong emphasis on both youth and elders,” said Igloliorte. “For young children, we have organized a fun, free children’s camp with co-host institution the WAG-Qaumajuq; for older youth and university students, there are many workshops and panels that focus on their concerns, including special programming for LGBTQ2S youth. In terms of elders, we’re thrilled to have partnered with Know History and Meta to bring many elders from across the north to the conference to participate in significant ways as panel discussants and knowledge sharers. The strong focus on Inuit Qaujimajatuqagit will be bolstered by their lived experiences and intergenerational knowledge.”
In conjunction with the conference, UWinnipeg’s Art Gallery 1C03 will also be hosting two art exhibitions including Mark Igloliorte: katinngak inside Gallery 1C03 and a vinyl wall art installation by Mark Bennett: I’m Tired on the wall opposite Gallery 1C03’s entrance.
“Gallery 1C03 is thrilled to host these exhibitions,” said Gallery 1C03’s curator Jennifer Gibson.”Mark Igloliorte and Mark Bennett point to timely and pressing issues of concern through their visually striking and engaging artworks. We are excited to welcome conference participants, members of the campus community and the public to engage with the show.”
UWinnipeg’s organizing committee members Dr. Serena Keshavjee and Dr. Cathy Mattes have engaged diverse student voices from the Masters in Curatorial Practices (CP) with a number of the students supported through two partnership grants, the Space Between Us Partnership grant and Inuit Futures, working on all aspects of the conference.
“These exhibitions are being curated by recent MA graduate Francesca Herbert Spence,” said Keshavjee, also a professor in the CP program. “Additionally, undergraduate student Christina Thompson is organizing a panel discussion and writing a review of the exhibition. Giving her a chance to apply the theoretical work she learned in a recent course on public art.”
In addition to Gallery 1C03, UWinnipeg has two other exhibitions. One is of Inuit art and tools from the UWinnipeg Anthropology museum in the Aabijijiwan New Media Lab, curated by undergraduate students, with mentorship from Inuit PhD student Krista Ulujuk Zawadski and CP MA students Amanda McLeod and Audree Espada.
The two Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) partnership grants supporting this conference, are the Space Between Us, led by Nagam, and Inuit Futures, led by Igloliorte, and are dedicated to training and mentoring Indigenous students.
“We are thrilled to partner with the conference, my long-time collaborator Dr. Igloliorte, and my excellent UWinnipeg colleagues,” said Nagam. “These grants allow us to showcase the mentorship of our current and past students in the exhibitions we have planned; the creative demos and artists’ reception at the lab and research centre; and their exceptional work in planning and preparing for the conference. We have an awesome lineup of Indigenous artists, performers and keynotes with a strong focus on Inuit leadership, creativity and research.”
The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is home to Qaumajuq, a new innovative museum that houses the largest public collection of Inuit art in the world.