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Changing Power Relations in Photography: The Potential of Photographic Returns Projects with Inuit Youth

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Changing Power Relations in Photography: The Potential of Photographic Returns Projects with Inuit Youth

Haskell, Clara (2017) Changing Power Relations in Photography: The Potential of Photographic Returns Projects with Inuit Youth. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis is about two photographic returns projects, Project Naming and Views from the North, that were done with Inuit youth in their late teens. Both projects furnished colonial photographs stored at the Library and Archives Canada as catalysts for engaging these youth with their communities and elders. Project Naming, which began in 2002, sent youth from Nunavut Sivuniksavut—a post-high school graduate program for Inuit youth in Ottawa—home with photographs of unidentified Inuit from their communities. The primary goal was to engage these youth with members of their community in order to identify the people in the archival photographs. Views from the North, which was started in 2005, built on Project Naming and hired students from the same program to interview Elders in their community about photographs from the same archive.
This thesis examines the history of colonial photography in Canada focusing on three influential parties: the federal and provincial governments, the Hudson Bay Company, and the various religious missions and missionaries working in the North. It explores the historical development of both Project Naming and Views from the North, their methodologies and overlapping objectives. Its' perspective expands these two photographic returns projects by comparative explorations of other such projects and their importance. Finally, through interviews, it investigates the impact these photographic returns projects has had upon the youth who participated. This thesis argues that these photographic returns project had a great impact on the youth who participated and that including the voices of the participants themselves is crucial to the research and development of such projects. It indicates an important new direction in research on photographic returns projects and Arctic research with Inuit in general, one that can focus on positive outcomes and understanding how histories captured in historical colonial photograph can be reframed by youth in ways that are productive and useful.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Haskell, Clara
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:14 August 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Igloliorte, Heather
ID Code:982758
Deposited By: CLARA HASKELL
Deposited On:09 Nov 2017 16:19
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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