Conference: Arctic Voices in Art and Literature


This conference focuses on the peak of Euro-American imperialism in the Western Arctic between about 1789 and 1914. By putting perspectives and experiences of marginalized beings in the centre, we look at the possibilities of rewriting the dominant history of this time period. We approach this theme from a range of vantage points, starting with the self-expression of Sámi, Inuit and Greenlandic individuals. We also examine the representation of Arctic indigenous peoples and animals by Western artists, travellers, explorers and scientists of varying backgrounds and gender.

The conference is a three-day programme with talks, discussions, creative workshops and performative exercises. We invite to open dialogue and welcome anyone interested in art and literature concerned with indigenous people and meetings between humans and between humans and animals. You can choose freely the parts you wish to attend.


Program Wednesday 
  • 9.00 – 09.30 Welcome, coffee/tea in Báldalávvu. Kjellaug Isaksen (Centre for Northern Peoples).
  • Seminar session 2: Sámi voices in art and literature
  • 09.30 –10.15 'Savage' Laughter: Humour as Resistance in Colonial Encounters in Sápmi and Greenland c. 1670 – 1800 Linda A. Burnett, Linnaeus University
  • 10.15 – 11.00 Imag(in)ing Saami Life: Emilie Demant Hatt’s Arctic Documents Hanna Eglinger, FAU Erlangen–Nürnberg.
  • 11.00 – 11.30 Short break
  • 11.30 – 12.15 Ecology and Johan Turi  Svein Aamold, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.     
  • 13.00 – 16.00 Workshop/Intervention + Yéil Ya-Tseen (Nicholas Galanin) (artist)
Program Thursday: 
  • 9.00 – 09.30 coffee/tea in Báldalávvu.
  • Seminar session 3: Arctic presences in European narratives
  • 09.30 – 10.15 Absent or Present, Part of the System or of the Land: The representation of animals in some nineteenth-century narratives of Arctic exploration. Sigfrid Kjeldaas, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
  • 10.15 – 11.00 Pictures from the Bering Street: Louis Choris’ Voyage pittoresque autour du Monde(1823). Marie-Theres Federhofer, UiT / Humboldt University, Berlin.
  • 11.10 – 12.35 Workshop / Intervention + Raisa Porsanger (artist)
  • 13.30 – 14.15 ‘Arctic Hysteria' or 'Polar Eufori'? Voicing Otherwise in Early Arctic Narrative Renee Hulan, Saint Mary’s University, Canada. 
  • 14.15 – 15.00 An Alternative Vision of the Friendly Arctic? Ada Blackjack’s Diary from Wrangel IslandSilje Gaupseth, Polarmuseet, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
  • 15.10 – 15.50 Intervention
Program Friday
  • 9.15 – 09.30 Coffee/tea in Báldalávvu    
  • Seminar session 4: Arctic presences in Western imagery
  • 9.30 – 09.50 Curatorial Strategies Charis Gullickson, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum.
  • 9.50 – 10.35 Tea and Sympathy in the Arctic: sociability and survival among Western women and Inuit, 1840-1900 Sophie Gilmartin, Royal Holloway University of London. 
  • 10.45 – 11.30 ‘Exceedingly Good Friends’: The Representation of Indigenous People during the Franklin Search Expeditions to the Arctic (1847-59) Eavan O’Dochartaigh, Umeå University. 
  • 11.30 – 12.15 Traces of an Arctic Voice: The Case of Qalasirssuaq Ingeborg Høvik, UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
  • 13.00 – 15.00 Workshop Curating and designing an exhibition on historical otherness Charis Gullickson (introduction)

The conference is a collaboration between Riddu Riđđu, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum and UiT - The Arctic University of Norway.


The next events

Wednesday    Thursday     Friday    Saturday    Sunday

Children / youth
Children / youth, Performance
Children / youth