Imagining Futures: A Conversation on Indigenous Knowledge

Shawn Van Sluys, Guelph, Ontario
Wanda Nanibush, Christian Island, Ontario
Adrian Stimson, Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation, Alberta
Tim Lilburn, Victoria, British Columbia
Philip Kevin Paul, W̱SÁNEĆ Nation, Vancouver Island
March 23, 2016

Spur Guelph, a festival of art, politics, and ideas was convened in November 2015. As part of the festival, the Imagining Futures conversation focused on the possibility of futures that draw from Indigenous and artistic ways of knowing and shaping the world.

How can the imagining of indigenous futures offer new or revised institutional, relational, and spatial forms and metaphors that centralize our relationships to the land and to each other? How do we radically resist dominant cultural constructs through our use of language and performance?

Shawn Van Sluys

Shawn Van Sluys

Shawn Van Sluys is the Executive Director of Musagetes, a philanthropic foundation that experiments in small Canadian and European cities with ways to connect communities more deeply with the arts and creativity. The foundation’s mandate is to make the arts more central and meaningful in people’s lives, in their communities and societies. He joined Musagetes as its first Executive Director in January 2009. Prior to that, he was the first Executive Director of the Canadian Art Museum Directors’ Organization, a national arts-service organization that represents 85 museum directors. Shawn studied art history at the University of Lethbridge. He is the President of the Guelph Jazz Festival and on the board of the Ammirato Culture House in Lecce, Italy. As a member of the Executive Team of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at the University of Guelph, he leads the Practice-Based Research working group.

Wanda Nanibush

Wanda Nanibush

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator and community organizer living in her territory of Chimnissing. Currently, Nanibush is a guest curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario and is touring her exhibition The Fifth World, which opens January 2016 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. The island life allows her to finish upcoming projects, including a film called A Love Letter to My People, a documentary on Gerald Vizenor, a book called Violence No More (Arp Press), an anthology of Indigenous Curatorial Writing and more.

Adrian Stimson

Adrian Stimson

Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta. He is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and educator who has a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art & Design and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. As an interdisciplinary artist, Adrian’s work includes paintings, installations, sculpture and performance.

Tim Lilburn

Tim Lilburn

Tim Lilburn was born in Regina. He has published nine books of poetry, including To the River (1999), Kill-site (2003), Orphic Politics (2008) and Assiniboia (2012). His work has received Canada’s Governor General’s Award (for Kill-site), the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award, among other prizes. A selection of his poetry is collected in Desire Never Leaves: The Poetry of Tim Lilburn (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007). Lilburn has produced two books of essays, both concerned with poetics, eros, and politics, especially environmentalism: Living in the World as if It Were Home (1999) and Going Home (2008). His work has been translated into Mandarin, French, Spanish, German, Polish and Serbian. A new poetry collection, The Names, was recently published in 2016, and a book of essays entitled The Larger Conversation: Contemplation and Place will be published by The University of Alberta Press in the fall 2017. Lilburn currently teaches at the University of Victoria.

Philip Kevin Paul

Philip Kevin Paul

Philip Kevin Paul is a member of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation from the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. His work has been published in BC Studies, Literary Review of Canada, Breathing Fire: Canada’s New Poets and An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English. Paul has worked with the University of Victoria’s linguistics department to ensure the preservation of the SENĆOŦEN language.

Philip Kevin Paul’s second book of poetry, Little Hunger, was shortlisted for a 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award. His first book of poetry, Taking the Names Down from the Hill, won the 2004 Dorothy Livesay Award for Poetry.

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