The 2022 Arctic Arts Summit will kick off on June 27 in Whitehorse, the capital of Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory.
This year’s event, which was supposed to take place in 2021 but was delayed because of the pandemic, is the first time Canada has hosted the event.
“It’s only the third summit so it’s every exciting that it’s going to Canada and Yukon,” Sophie Tremblay Morissette, the Arctic Arts Summit Coordinator for the Yukon government, said in a phone interview.
This year’s gathering includes delegates-only, public and livestreamed events and includes everything from performances and visual arts, to puppets and panel discussions.
“There’s very much something for anyone who’s interested to take in some part of the summit,” Tremblay Morissette said.
‘Connection to the land’
The overarching theme of this year’s event, connection to the land, was broken down into nine sub-themes that helped guide the programing.
“[The North] connects us all together,” Tremblay Morissette said. “We, our local, national and international partners, really tried to figure out our common challenges, opportunities and realities and that’s how we came up with the final theme, and made sure that everything connects to it and that there’s circumpolar representation on every panel.”
Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there’s no Russian delegation at this year’s event, but Russian artists from the North and living outside of Russia are taking part.
Culture driver of growth and development in North
The first Arctic Arts Summit was held in in Harstad, Norway in 2017. The goal of the event is to showcase Arctic art and artists and to create links between the northern arts communities of the eight circumpolar countries.
Maria Utsi, the founder of the Arctic Arts Summit and the international liaison for the 2022 event, said she was inspired to find a way to showcase northern arts and artists in a world that had seemed to have written northern people out of global discussions about the Arctic.
“I was struck by how the international reports and official documents on the Arctic was limited to resource management and global environmental issues, and totally lacked the perspectives of the humans living in the High North,” Utsi said in a statement on the summit website.
“Arts and culture were not even mentioned as areas of political interest. Yet, from our northern perspective, culture was and remains an imperative driving force for sustainable growth and development in the North.”
The success of the Norwegian summit led to a second event being held in 2019 in Rovaniemi, Finland.
Content available in English, French, Inuktitut and Southern Tutchone
Besides performances, panel discussions this year touch on everything from Indigenous languages to colonialization.
Livestreamed events will take place in English, with French and Inuktitut translation. Southern Tutchone will also be added to the recordings of the events.
The 2022 Arctic Arts Summit runs until June 29.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: After a two-year delay, Canadian Inuit art exhibition in Warsaw meets the moment, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: 70th annual reindeer cup races held on frozen Lake Inari, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: German project to house everything published in Siberian and Arctic languages to seek new funding, Eye on the Arctic
Sweden: Sweden, Norway team up to preserve ancient rock carvings, Radio Sweden