Indigenous Futures

Concordia University (Tiohtià:ke, North America)

The Indigenous Futures Cluster (IFC) explores how Indigenous people are imagining the future of their families and communities. IFC is founded on two SSHRC Partnerships: the Initiative for Indigenous Futures and the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project.

Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF)

IIF is a 7-year exploration of narratives, frameworks, and technologies that help us articulate a continuum between our histories, our present, and the seventh generation and beyond. We take a research-creation approach to these issues, employing art- and technology-making coupled with scholarly analysis and conceptual development to illuminate how the challenges of the present can be addressed, in part, through concrete, constructive, and critical dreams of the future.

IIF is a multi-faceted effort including game development and modding workshops; interactive media art for the screen, public spaces, and virtual reality; residencies for artists and others to explore the Indigenous Future Imaginary; and an Indigenous digital media archive to capture the important work already produced by Indigenous creators exploring the future.

Prof. Jason Edward Lewis, University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary and Co-director of the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network, directs IIF in its collaborations with a dozen educational, arts, and community-based cultural and language institutions from across Canada.

Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project 

The Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project is a 7-year SSHRC-funded Partnership Grant initiative which trains and mentors Inuit and Inuvialuit in Canada in their pursuit of higher education and professional opportunities in all aspects of the arts and humanities. Our Inuit Futures Ilinniaqtuit (students / learners) undertake their own research in the arts, participate in other Inuit-led artistic projects, and gain valuable skills and knowledge by participating in paid internships and other training opportunities within our network of arts institutions across the north and south. These experiences improve Ilinniaqtuit readiness for careers in the arts and research, while fostering a national peer and mentor network across the north and south, creating a new generation of knowledge creators.

Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Co-Director of the Indigenous Futures Cluster and Tier 1 University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts, directs the Inuit Futures project, which is led by an all-Inuit team of researchers and arts practitioners from across Inuit Nunangat (the four Inuit regions of Canada), and includes over twenty partner institutions including postsecondary institutions across Canada, Arctic arts organizations, and southern arts institutions that have committed to fostering and developing Inuit talent for longterm success. Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project is grounded in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. We emphasize pilimmaksarniq / pijariuqsarniq, the Inuit societal values of developing skills and knowledge through observation, mentoring, practice, and effort.

Information for Prospective Students and Collaborators

The IFC is always looking for graduate students and post-docs to join us as we conduct foundational research and research-creation. Concordia students from the programs below are invited to contact the IFC co-directors for details on how to join.

Graduate students in the following programs are members of our cluster:

Art History (MA/PhD)
Computer Science (MCompSc / PhD)
Design and Computation Arts (MDes)
Humanities (PhD)
INDI – the Individualized Program (MA/PhD)
Software Engineering (Masters of Engineering/ PhD)

Cluster co-directors 

Jason Edward Lewis. Professor, Design and Computation Arts

Heather Igloliorte. Associate Professor, Art History