Climate change from the perspective of youth in Old Crow, YT and Inuvik, NWT
What does climate change look like in Canada’s Arctic Circle? Most Canadians, and even most northerners, never get the chance to find out. This Is Our Arctic invites you to discover what climate change in the Arctic looks like through the eyes of local youth.
Thanks to funding from The Small Change Fund and Environment Yukon, BYTE travelled to the Arctic communities of Old Crow and Inuvik in early October 2013 and in January 2015 to connect with local youth. In each community, we ran a three-day workshop on climate change and photography. After spending time chatting about climate change and photocomposition, we handed cameras to the youth and asked them to take photos of climate change in their communities. In January 2015, we ran video-making and interviewing workshops with Old Crow youth so that they could ask older members of their community how the land has changed over the years and capture their conversations on film.
.,The results are beautiful, compelling, and sometimes humorous, and make up a new multimedia exhibition that we’ve titled This is Our Arctic: Climate change from the perspective of youth in Old Crow, YT and Inuvik, NWT. The photos in the exhibit were taken almost exclusively by Old Crow and Inuvik youth, and provide windows into their communities and Arctic youth’s perspectives on climate change.
From January 10 – February 5, 2014, we displayed the photography exhibit at the Yukon Electrical Youth Gallery in the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse. In mid-February, we sent the photographs to Inuvik to be part of the town’s first-ever Arctic Image Festival, which took place from February 28 – March 2, 2014. One of the youth photographers who participated in our workshop, Alexa Kuptana, entered a photo she took with us into the Arctic Image Festival’s Youth Division contest and won first place. You can read all about the Arctic Image Festival and Alexa’s submission here.
On April 26, 2014, This Is Our Arctic debuted down south at the ArtStarts in Schools Gallery in downtown Vancouver. ArtStarts was the first gallery dedicated to young people’s work in Canada and This Is Our Arctic was on display there until August 31, 2014. Read all about the exhibit launch here.
At the beginning of October 2014, the exhibit headed from downtown Vancouver over to Coquitlam, BC, where the city’s two library branches housed a the exhibit. The Old Crow photographs were on display at the Poirier Branch, and the photographs of Inuvik were on display at the City Centre Branch . Find out more about the Coquitlam displays here.
BYTE also attended the Youth Centres Conference of Canada in Ottawa at the end of March 2015 to display the photographs and the new video. We shared the video made by the youth in Old Crow with an audience of youth and youth workers from all over the country.
In November of 2015, the exhibit, including, for the first time, the accompanying video, was displayed in the Toronto Museum of Inuit Art.
The exhibit was returned to us by the Museum of Inuit Art in 2016 and was exhibited for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited Yukon. It now hangs in the Inuvik Youth Centre and the BYTE office.