Nunavut game company offers tech scholarship

Talia Metuq (seated), with actor Jaden Ishulutaq, working on a script for video game audio. Metuq received a scholarship this year to study 3D modeling animation and design in Vancouver. (Courtesy Pinnguaq)
Talia Metuq (seated), with actor Jaden Ishulutaq, working on a script for video game audio. Metuq received a scholarship this year to study 3D modeling animation and design in Vancouver. (Courtesy Pinnguaq)
A Nunavut game company known for it’s Inuit language games and apps is offering a new scholarship for students interested in technology.

Pinnguaq, based in the community of Pangnirtung in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, announced the first recipient this month.

Pangnirtung resident Talia Metuq, 21, will head off to the Visual College of Art and Design in Vancouver this September to study 3D modeling animation and design.

She’ll receive $6000 from Pinnguaq towards the costs of her education plus the opportunity to work on Pinnguaq projects and develop her portfolio.

“I was speechless when I heard about it,” Metuq said over the phone from Pangnirtung this week. “I’m really happy and excited.”

To find out more about the scholarship and the importance of developing technical skills in Nunavut, Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn spoke to Pinnguaq’s Ryan Oliver this week:

Supporting local talent
Pinnguaq's Ryan Oliver. (Courtesy Pinnguaq)
Pinnguaq’s Ryan Oliver. (Courtesy Pinnguaq)

Pinnguaq’s director Ryan Oliver said the idea for the scholarship came out of the regular code clubs the company hosts for students in Pangnirtung who want to learn about computer programming. A session on 3D modeling inspired Metuq to apply to school in Vancouver.

She was accepted but the costs exceeded what financial assistance was available. That’s when Pinnguaq decided to step in. He says the company will continue to find ways to support local talent.

“We continue to host these code clubs and we’re going to continue to find these stars in the territory that really want to pursue this.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Osmos iPad game translated into the Inuit language, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Photographer’s Finland images light up NASA website, Yle News

Sweden:  Reindeer nose could produce green technology, Radio Sweden

United States:  Alaska’s North Slope may get blazing fast Internet access, Alaska Dispatch

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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