Sectoral and Digital Challenges
Canada has many Indigenous communities successfully producing tangible artistic and cultural products and services, requiring shipment of raw materials and/or finished products. Kinngait, for example, was established in the 1950s as such a community, and continues to produce large quantities of artistic work that is distributed worldwide.
Canada has many Indigenous communities successfully producing tangible artistic and cultural products and services, requiring shipment of raw materials and/or finished products. Kinngait, for example, was established in the 1950s as such a community, and continues to produce large quantities of artistic work that is distributed worldwide. The pandemic had significant impacts on supply chains and transportation sectors for material and tangible goods, making virtual creation and distribution of digital arts and culture products a viable alternative. The barriers and disconnection created by COVID-19 decimated opportunities for already disadvantaged and marginalized Northern, rural and remote artists to effectively participate in, advance and contribute to the arts economy.
The importance of digital training for arts and cultural sectors, as well as job creation and participation in markets for digital products is widely recognized as essential for economic recovery in modern economies, as evidenced by several creative economy reports by the United Nations Creative Economy Program (UNCTAD 2008, 2010 and 2013). Key to the implementation of arts-oriented economic initiatives for rural and underserved regions is local access to and familiarity with information technology and digital media.
The voyage had begun, and had begun happily with a soft blue sky, and a calm sea.
The arts-oriented economic development initiative proposed here contributes to supporting the design and testing of a culturally-aligned and community-focused digital creative incubator facilitating development of new artistic and cultural training opportunities and jobs for remote and rural Indigenous artists and cultural connectors. Research supported by the University of Minnesota Duluth and ArcticNet, for example, indicates the implementation of any entrepreneurship incubator/accelerator requires careful study of the traditional and contemporary values that communities see in such programs.
This project aims to create meaningful training, work and professional development opportunities for northern, remote and rural Indigenous artists through advanced mentorship and arts-oriented, digital economic development.
Specific anticipated benefits include:
- Indigenous Consultation and Co-Creation of Digital Entrepreneurship Curriculum.
- A collaborative team of Indigenous youth, elders and experts will work with scholars, community organizers and non-profit organizations to identify and assess the challenges and barriers that currently exist with participation in the arts economy.
- A collaborative team of Indigenous youth, elders and experts will work with scholars, community organizers and non-profit organizations to deliver/teach the curriculum in Winnipeg, MB, with indigenous youth in attendance.
- The curriculum developed for this project will be accessible to indigenous communities across Canada, and will be freely usable under a Creative Commons license.
Improved mental health and confidence in artistic expression through increased social connections. Participating artists will create:
- new opportunities to engage, collaborate and grow within the local and regional arts communities;
- better employability for themselves through targeted skills training;
- increased visitors to their community;
- increased sales of their youth and community-facilitated art.