Artists are the soul of a nation. They create work that inspires and delights, but that also questions and holds power to account. For too long, Indigenous peoples have been denied access to the tools, training, mentorship needed to fully participate with agency in the creative life of this country, effectively having been restrained from the artistic process that informs and influences Canadian identity and from the economic wellbeing enjoyed by most Canadians.
Bringing Indigenous artists to the forefront
The Longhouse Labs project will build capacity amongst Indigenous students and artists through education and professionalization, dismantling the complex set of barriers faced by Indigenous artists and introducing Indigenous knowledge and practices to the wider campus community. By opening pathways for students and their Indigenous mentors to assume leadership roles in both art and education, the project supports Indigenous leadership in post-secondary institutions and beyond. The University and broader community will benefit through the creation of collaborative, inclusive experiences for students, faculty, researchers, artists, and community members, centered on Indigenous culture, knowledge, and practices that are led by both Indigenous faculty and visiting artists.
Specifically the Project will:
- Create a welcoming and supportive environment where students see that Indigenous knowledge and practices are academically embraced and respected as a core component of the fine arts curriculum.
- Invite Indigenous artists who may not have traditional academic credentials to join the project as Longhouse Labs Fellows and guide implementation of Indigenous knowledge at the university. These fellowships will help to grant Indigenous artists the academic prestige many institutions require for senior positions, enabling their advancement to visible positions of authority, addressing the mentorship gap for Indigenous artists, and expanding Indigenous influence in Canada’s arts-and-culture sector.
- Lay the ground work for repatriation of Indigenous cultural heritage by safely housing culturally significant objects for extended periods of engagement to be made available to students and Fellows and supporting the next generation of Indigenous curators.
Join us and help create a strong, vibrant cultural sector that welcomes the many voices of Indigenous artists in Canada.
With your help, we can begin to create an environment that encourages the active engagement of Indigenous ways of learning and making into Fine Arts classrooms, curriculums and minds of students. Your support will welcome a new generation of Indigenous young people to explore and develop careers in artistic fields and encourage those who are already working hard to sustain their practice. Together we can start to build up the structures, processes, and opportunities that will celebrate and value Indigenous artists’ full participation on Canada’s cultural and artistic stages, and all of us will reap the rewards.