The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg’s Dr. Julie Nagam hosts symposium on Indigenous Futures

Dr. Julie Nagam. photo © WAG

Dr. Julie Nagam. photo © WAG

UWinnipeg’s Dr. Julie Nagam is a host and organizer of the exciting third annual Symposium on the Future Imaginary at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. This symposium brings together a critical mass of artists, community activists, curators, and academics to present their visions of the future of Indigenous people. This year’s symposium is subtitled The Future is Indigenous, and runs November 28 to December 2, 2017 at the WAG.  There is also a UWinnipeg contingent presenting at The Future is Indigenous, that includes Nagam plus Dr. Serena Keshavjee (art history) and Jarita Greyeyes, Director, Community Learning and Engagement, Indigenous Affairs.

“There is no better moment to focus on Indigenous innovation and digital media. Indigenous artists/designers are leading the way in this digital revolution and creating some of the most cutting edge work in the world. I am thrilled to host and organize this event at the same time as hosting the international Indigenous curators exchange with New Zealand, Australia and Norway. The opportunity to have this critical mass of artists, designers, scholars and curators reflecting on the future of Indigenous peoples in Winnipeg will hopefully inspire new generations to create, explore and imagine ourselves into the future and beyond,” said Nagam, Associate Professor and Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America — a joint appointment between the UWinnipeg and the WAG.

The symposium is part of the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) and the Transactive Memory Keepers Digital and New Media Mobile Laboratories Project (TMK), working in partnership with UWinnipeg, Concordia University and with funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canada Council for the Arts. With poet, Elder and visionary Dr. Duke Redbird as the keynote speaker, panel discussions will explore themes of “Dreaming of Our Future Seven Generations Ahead,” “IndigeFem and the Future,” “Games and Design as Resurgence and Presence,” “Land-Based Knowledge” and “Creative Interventions, Technology as (De)Colonial Tools, and Arctic Futurisms.”

Jason Edward Lewis, © Christie Vuong

Jason Edward Lewis, © Christie Vuong

“We started the Future Imaginary Symposia in order to explore narratives, artworks, frameworks and technologies that help us articulate a continuum between our histories, our present, the seventh generation — and beyond. Dr. Nagam has put together a program that will not only do that, but also promises to be one of the most important events in Indigenous media arts this century. I look forward to three days of the playful and the serious, the fantastical and the pragmatic, the traditional and the contemporary, all from an Indigenous viewpoint. The future is now, and the future is Indigenous,” said Jason Edward Lewis, IIF Director and University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary, Concordia University

The symposium extends into the evenings with art, engaging media, cultural performances, and VR and video games,:

  • Thursday & Friday: Speakers and new media screenings
  • Thursday: 8PM -11PM – CBC Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild with performances from: Rylee Sandberg and Southern Thunderbird Medicine Drum Group, Spence Tradition, Nikki Komaksiutiksak, Tara Williamson, Shanley Spence, Boogey the Beat, Yakaskwan Mihkiwap “Light Tipi”. Families are welcome.
  • Friday: Opening Event at Urban Shaman Gallery – InDigiNous Aotearoa: Virtual Histories, Augmented Futures and Inuit Art Quarterly FUTURES issue Launch
  • Saturday: 11M-2PM- Activities that include Indigenous Video Game Arcade and Virtual Reality (VR) Stations showcasing games from the IIF Skins workshopsElizabeth LaPensée’s Thunderbird Strikes and Upper One Games’ Never Alone videogames,the 2167 VR projects, the Art Alive VR experience from Pinnguaq. Hands-on Makerspace activities such as a Scratch workshop hosted by VideoPool Media Arts. Families are welcome.

Invited speakers include: KC Adams (Winnipeg, CND), Joi Arcand (Ottawa, CND), Scott Benesiinaabandan (Montreal, CND), Heather Campbell (Nunatsiavut, CND), Karl Chitham (Tauranga, NZ), Siku Allooloo (Yellowknife, CND), Jarita Greyeyes (Winnipeg, CND), Candice Hopkins (Albuquerque, USA), Heather Igloliorte (Montreal, CND), Jaimie Isaac (Winnipeg, CND), Rilla Khaled (Montreal, CND), Owioskon Lahache (Kahnawake, CND), Michelle LaVallee (Regina, CND), Jason Lewis (Montreal, CND), Mandee McDonald (Yellowknife, CND), Keith Munro (Brisbane, AU), Wanda Nanibush (Toronto, CND), Jolene Rickard (Ithaca, USA), Tasha Spillett (Winnipeg, CND), Megan Tamati-Quennell (Wellington, NZ), and more.

A symposium highlight is INSURGENCE/RESURGENCE, the WAG’s largest-ever exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art, featuring 29 emerging to established Indigenous artists from across Canada who are pushing boundaries with their work. Open until April 22, this groundbreaking exhibition includes tufting, tattooing, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, beading, media, and performances.

To learn more please visit To watch live-streaming visit

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