News Release

REF NO.: 21

SUBJECT: Students to present artwork representing Inuit values to Faculty of Education

DATE: October 7, 2016

During the 20th biennial Inuit Studies Conference taking place Oct. 7-10, Dr. Sylvia Moore and 14 students from Memorial University’s Inuit bachelor of education (IBED) program in Happy-Valley Goose Bay, Labrador, will arrive in St. John’s with two large pieces of original art.

The four-day conference is taking place on the St. John’s campus, with a variety of community events, performances and special activities happening throughout the capital city.

Created as part of the IBED program, the artwork will be presented to Patricia Kemuksigak, minister of Education, Nunatsiavut Government, and Dr. Kirk Anderson, dean, Faculty of Education, during the first session of the day on Monday, Oct. 10, at 9:30 a.m. in IIC-2001, Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation.

The large pieces are visual representations of Inuit values including the Inuit core laws of relationship — working for the common good, being respectful of all living things, maintaining harmony and continually planning/preparing for a better future — and communal laws — showing respect and caring for others, being welcoming, open and inclusive, developing collaborative relationships to work together for a common purpose, environmental stewardship, knowledge and skills acquisition, being resourceful to solve problems, consensus decision-making and serving.

Last year, when the first term of the IBED program had just begun, the students discussed Inuit values in class. Dr. Moore then challenged them to reflect on how the values could be expressed and represented in everyday life.

Students were asked to work in small groups, with each group choosing one value to represent visually. Ultimately, they came up with a unique four-foot-long textile hanging.

“The students are so excited,” said Dr. Moore about the presentation and the students’ participation in the conference. “And I’m excited for them. This is a pretty big deal.”

The original piece of collaborative art now hangs in the IBED classroom at the Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The wall hanging was photographed by Michelle Baikie, a photographer and cultural consultant with the Nunatsiavut Government. The full-size, framed images will be presented on Monday.

“The IBED program indigenizes teacher education and is specifically relevant to the Inuit culture,” said Dr. Moore, director of the program, which is now in its second year.

“Working on the wall hanging has not only engaged our current students as learners, but will also impact the way they teach our future generations,” said Dr. Anderson, who is also incoming president of the Canadian Association of Deans of Education. “To those who observe it, wherever they are, it lends support and authenticity to the collective perspectives of our students.”

In both roles, Dr. Anderson is focusing on indigenizing the curriculum.

“It also shows that Memorial has the capacity to serve the people of the province wherever they are in a truly inclusive way,” he said. “As art does, it will stimulate many thoughts and ideas. It will be a source for teachable moments or quiet reflection.

“For our Inuit students and their instructors, as well as supporters, it will serve to remind them, or enshrine for them, that this journey was one they truly influence to empower their perspectives.”

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