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OCAD U launches Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge

by pnationtalk on June 25, 201931 Views

June 21, 2019

As part of its National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration, OCAD University is launching the Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge. OCAD University positions decolonization as the first of six key principles of its Academic Plan on a path toward transformative education. In light of its commitment to expanding Indigenous knowledge, OCAD University is thrilled to further facilitate the collaborative work of researchers and artists by providing a dynamic platform for creativity.

This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate Wapatah’s current and upcoming projects as we foster the vision of global Indigeneity and sustainable scholarship of Indigenous cultural heritage.

Under the innovative supervision of Dr. Gerald McMaster, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice (Tier 1), Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge is a hub for facilitating the documentation, communication and translation of Indigenous ways of seeing. Drawing on the inseparable concepts of perception and knowing, Wapatah assists Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and researchers to collaborate on the presentation and representation of artistic knowledge. Through creative and critical collaborations, Wapatah builds and maintains relationships between artists, scholars and practitioners across disciplines and in ever-widening circles.

The Wapatah Centre launch is an exciting opportunity to celebrate our research milestones and initiatives:

  • Arctic / Amazon Symposium: Part of a multi-year project, the Arctic/Amazon Symposium will take shape from September 19 to -20,2019. The symposium will centralize Indigenous research and artistic production to develop interconnections between Amazonian Indigenous and Inuit thinkers, artists and activists whose works address climate change amidst shifting political times. The purpose of this gathering is to foster and facilitate a collaborative framework in which participants from Inuit and Amazonian communities can share their knowledge and consider future work together.
  • The Entangled Gaze: Knowledge Exchange Workshop: This workshop took place over two days in February 2019 at the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Linagaay, and convened an interdisciplinary group of scholars, curators, Elders, and student participants from across Canada, the United States and Europe. As part of the workshop participants helped to collaboratively develop a set of protocols for research accessibility, preservation, as well as respectful and meaningful engagement with the Indigenous knowledge online.
  • Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art: Building on the success of the 2017 Entangled Gaze conference in Toronto, Wapatah Centre is working on a series of digital archive and database projects and knowledge mobilization initiatives, including the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art set for public release in 2020. The Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art is a digital platform for Indigenous communities, researchers, students, curators, and collecting institutions. This project aims to provide a digital gathering place for data on historical and contemporary Indigenous art, connecting Indigenous communities with researchers and museums.
  • Launch of a special issue of ab-Original: Journal of Indigenous Studies and First Nations’ and First Peoples’ Cultures. This issue brings together an exciting selection of peer-reviewed papers from The Entangled Gaze: Indigenous and European Views of Each Other conference as an indispensable educational resource for both scholars and knowledge-holders.
  • Launch of the Wapatah website. This new website will enable Wapatah to reach new audiences to communicate its research projects, progress and partnerships. The website can be accessed at


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