Shifting Ground: Mapping Energy, Community and Geography in the North is a SSHRC-supported experimental artistic research project designed to provoke new thinking and action around resource extraction, energy transition, and socioenvironmental adaptation in communities of the circumpolar North. Led by an international team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, writers, and curators, this four-year project emerges from the necessity to create new aesthetic expressions that reflect the landscapes, lived experiences, and future imaginaries of anthropogenic climate change in more inclusive terms. At its core, Shifting Ground aims to deepen dialogue about climate change and generate alternative artistic representations that have been hitherto obscured, ignored, or downplayed in conversations around energy transition and transformation. By exploring these themes through the lens of contemporary art, Shifting Ground sets out to link local resiliencies with global concerns.

We see the production of knowledge as inescapably place-based, and are particularly committed to site-determined, site-related, or site-inspired artistic approaches with a grounding in embodied practice. To this end, Shifting Ground aims to leverage co-creative methods through a series of annual convenings developed in conjunction with community partners in the Yukon, Alaska, and Finland. Envisioned as a space of sensory encounter, collaboration, and learning, each convening will be framed around a thematic to be explored by local and visiting research team artists, curators, craftspeople, educators, and scientists over a 10-day period. Through workshops, field trips, and artistic engagements, these convenings will lay the groundwork for the production of new works which will inform a series of exhibitions, publications, and public events. It is our hope that these convenings will serve as a locus of dialogue and activity in support of new alliances across disciplinary, institutional, and national boundaries.

We are delighted to be in the planning stages of the inaugural Shifting Ground convening, scheduled to take place in the Yukon in the summer of 2020. The Yukon convening will primarily unfold in Dawson City and Whitehorse, along with visits to the communities of Carcross, Haines Junction, and Teslin. Institutional support for this convening is provided by the Yukon School of Visual Art (SOVA), Yukon Arts Centre (YAC), and Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre. Please continue checking back, as further information will be released in the coming months.


Principal funding for Shifting Ground is provided by a SSHRC Insight grant, with Ruth Beer serving as Principal Investigator (PI), and Lindsay McIntyre, Sheena Wilson and Timo Jokela as Co-Investigators (Co-I). Additional funding and in-kind contributions have been generously provided by Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Yukon Arts Centre, Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA), University of Lapland, and Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre.