A Canadian Selvage: Weaving Artistic Research into Resource Politics

  • Ruth Beer Emily Carr University of Art and Design
  • Caitlin Chaisson Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Keywords: oil, resource extraction, fish, weaving, contemporary art, Canada

Abstract

This exploratory article addresses our experiences as artist-researchers engaged with “Trading Routes: Grease Trails, Oil Futures,” a research-creation project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. “Trading Routes” focuses on the intersecting geographies of Indigenous fish grease trails and the proposed Alberta-British Columbia oil pipeline. These converging routes are shedding light on the present entanglement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage, ecological perspectives, and resource extraction. Through artistic scholarship, material production, historical and cultural understanding, we seek to better account for the ways in which an environmental social justice perspective can be crafted into arts-based research. We write from a point of reflection, where we assess, evaluate, disentangle, and unclad some of the learning that has come to us through the research-creation and presentation of contemporary weaving. We suggest that arts-based research can offer a methodology of learning and thinking rooted in a perspective of informing, informality, or thinking about artworks in form, an extension of a/r/tographic praxis that is grounded in an analysis of materiality and aesthetics.

Author Biographies

Ruth Beer, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Ruth Beer is an artist/researcher whose artwork has been presented in national and international exhibitions. Her recent research creation projects supported by SSHRC include “Trading Routes: Grease Trails, Oil Pipelines” which addresses energy and communities in transition within the interlaced geography of traditional Indigenous trading routes and proposed oil pipelines in Canada’s northwest.

Caitlin Chaisson, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Caitlin Chaisson is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and independent curator. She is the founder of Far Afield, an initiative that supports rural and regionally-connected artistic and curatorial practices. Her writing has appeared in Canadian Art, C Magazine, Espace, Momus, and the journal Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, among others.

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Published
2019-02-27