2022 Arctic Arts Summit kicks off June 27 in Yukon, Canada

A file photo from the 2019 Arctic Arts Summit in Finland. This year’s event will be held in Canada for the first time. (Kaisa-Reetta Seppanen/Courtesy Arctic Arts Summit 2022)

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.” 

2022 Arctic Art Summit themes
  • Land: Language, Community, Heritage, Identity
  • Indigenous Sovereignty: Self-determination, Indigenization and Decolonization
  • Climate: Environmental Sustainability, Crisis and Action
  • Creating: Makers, Making, and Sharing Artistic Production
  • Representation: Institutions & Ethics, Engagements, Education, Policy, Protocol, Repatriation
  • Circumpolar Collaboration: Cooperation and Mobility
  • Technology: Digital Arts, Data, Access, New Media
  • Activism: Artists, Movements and Social Change
  • Possible Futures: New Directions, Youth Voices, Imaginings

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

“As festival organizers and art professionals, we felt a responsibility to use our resources to create a transnational platform that could catapult perspectives of arts and culture into the political discourse on Arctic development,” says Maria Utsi, the founder of the Arctic Arts Summit. (Courtesy Arctic Arts Summit 2022)

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 onsite program is available here The livestream event program is available here.

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

United States: American cartoonist says his new book on Canadian Indigenous history helped decolonize part of himself, CBC News

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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