A Canadian Selvage: Weaving Artistic Research into Resource Politics

Ruth Beer, Caitlin Chaisson


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.


oil; resource extraction; fish; weaving; contemporary art; Canada

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