Panel: Agency and Voice in Response to a Digitizing World

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The offline world has a known history of oppression, slavery, and colonization.  In spite of this 1,000-year history, there is momentum in knowing, speaking, and understanding diverse communities, languages, and protocols. Whereas the online world replicates elements of our colonial history in myriad ways including non-challenged algorithms,  virtual, borderless spaces provide ways to enable the enrichment and celebration of our multi-living cultures.  The online world offers influential environments of social, emotional, and cultural change.  How do we propagate virtual cultural safety, collectively manage globalized influences, and celebrate agency of voice in response to a digitizing world?

Moderator

Reneltta Arluk

Reneltta is an Inuvialuit, Dene and Cree woman from the Northwest Territories. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program and founder of Akpik Theatre, the only professional Indigenous Theatre company in the NWT. Akpik Theatre focuses on establishing an authentic Northern Indigenous voice through theatre and storytelling. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, this nomadic environment gave Reneltta the skills to become the multi-disciplined artist she is now. Reneltta has taken part in or initiated the creation of Indigenous Theatre across Canada and overseas.

Arluk is committed to stories inspired by Indigenous language and has worked in-depth with Indigenous and minority youth through her theatre advocacy work. Under Akpik Theatre, Reneltta has written, produced, and performed various works focusing on decolonization and using theatre as a tool for reconciliation. This includes Pawâkan Macbeth, a Plains Cree adaptation of Macbeth written by Arluk on Treaty 6 territory. Pawâkan Macbeth was inspired by working with Owen Morris and his students on the Frog Lake reserve. In 2017, Reneltta became the first Inuit and first Indigenous woman to direct at The Stratford Festival. She was awarded the Tyrone Guthrie - Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director’s Award for her direction of The Breathing Hole by Governor General Award-winning playwright, Colleen Murphy. Reneltta is now Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. 

Speakers

Niki Little

Niki Little | Wabiska Maengun is a mother, artist/observer, arts administrator, and a founding member of The Ephemerals. She is Anishininew/English from Kistiganwacheeng (Garden Hill, FN), based between Win-nipi (Winnipeg, MB) and Tkaronto (Toronto, ON). Her interests investigate cultural consumerism, Indigenous womxn, and community-based initiatives and Indigenous economies.

Niki is the Artistic Director for imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Previously, she was the Director for the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition where she organized Listen, Witness, Transmita national Indigenous media arts gathering in Saskatoon, SK (June 12-15, 2018) that included round tables, performances, screenings, and exhibitions.

As an independent community connector, Niki co-curated níchiwamiskwém | nimidet | my sister | ma soeur, the La Biennale d’Art Contemporain Autochtone 2018 (BACA) in Montréal and surrounding areas (May 3 - June 19, 2018) and co-hosted Migration, a three-week on-the-land residency with Becca Taylor in Demmitt, AB, grounded in exploration around Indigenous economies and research as ceremony (August 13-31, 2018).

Lisa Jackson

With a background in documentary, Lisa Jackson expanded into fiction with SAVAGE, which won a Genie award for Best Short Film. She is known for her cross-genre projects including VR, animation, performance art film, and a musical. Playback Magazine named her one of 10 to Watch and her work has played at festivals internationally, including Berlinale, Hot Docs, SXSW, Tribeca, and London BFI, as well as airing on many networks in Canada.  

Her VR work BIIDAABAN: FIRST LIGHT premiered at Tribeca, won a Canadian Screen Award, was nominated for a Webby, has exhibited around the world, and garnered high praise from press and the public. TRANSMISSIONS, a 6000 SF multimedia installation on land, language and the Anthropocene premiered in September 2019 in Vancouver.  Her recent 3D IMAX short film LICHEN premiered in April 2019 as part of Outer Worlds, a commission project featuring the work of five artists including Michael Snow. In 2017 she co-directed the CBC one-hour doc INDICTMENT: THE CRIMES OF SHELLY CHARTIER which won Best Doc at imagineNATIVE Film Festival.

In 2016, she directed the 360-degree film HIGHWAY OF TEARS for CBC Radio's The Current and in 2015 she field directed 21 drama segments for the 8-part APTN/ZDF docudrama series 1491: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE AMERICAS BEFORE COLUMBUS, based on the best-selling book by Charles C. Mann. 

She was Director of the Gladue Video Project with Osgoode Hall Law School, programming consultant for Hotdocs, sits on the NFB's Indigenous Advisory Committee, and has been the Director Mentor for the National Screen Institute's IndigiDocs Program. She is Anishinaabe, has a BFA in Film Production from SFU, an MFA from York University, and is an alumna of the Canadian Film Centre's Directors Lab, TIFF Talent Lab, and IDFA Doc Summer School. See lisajackson.ca for more info. 

Fatimah Tuggar

Multidisciplinary artist Fatimah Tuggar was born in Nigeria and raised there and in the United Kingdom. She has studied, lived, and worked in US and Canada since the late 80’s. Her work uses technology as both medium and subject to serve as metaphors for power dynamics. She combines objects, images, and sounds from diverse cultures, geographies, and histories to comment on how media and technology diversely impacts local and global realities.

Tuggar’s work has been widely exhibited at international venues in over twenty-five countries. Her art education covers three continents and a broader range of disciplines, traditions, processes, and materials. Her work has been the subject of various panels and articles. Her body of work has also been integrated as parts of academic curricula, in multiple disciplines and discussions, including technology, new media, politics, cultural studies, feminism, diaspora, globalisation, anthropology, social justice, sculpture, interactive media, photography, and video among others. 

She has been a recipient of awards and commissions including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Charlotte Street Foundation, W.A Mellon fellowship at Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, and Civitella Ranieri, Umbertide, Umbria, Italy. She has produced commissioned works for Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Bronx Museum of the Arts; New York and Nordic Institute of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; and the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas; among others.

Devyani Saltzman

Devyani Saltzman is a Canadian writer and curator with a deep interest in relevant, multidisciplinary, programming at the intersection between art, ideas, and social change. She is the Director of Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), working across all disciplines and the author of Shooting Water (Publishers Weekly, Library Journal starred reviews, 'A poignant memoir' The New York Times). Saltzman was the 2014-18 Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre, the first woman and first woman of colour in that role, as well as the Founding Curator, Literary Programming, at Luminato, North America's largest multi-arts festival. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, National PostThe Atlantic, and Tehelka, India's weekly of arts and investigative journalism. She sits on the boards of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and SummerWorks Performance Festival, and has been a juror for the National Magazine Awards, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Saltzman has a degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Oxford.