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Arctic Visible: Picturing Indigenous Communities in the Nineteenth-Century Western Arctic

Arctic Visible: Picturing Indigenous Communities in the Nineteenth-Century Western Arctic

Objective

The proposed research project “Arctic Visible: Picturing Indigenous Communities in the Nineteenth-Century Western Arctic” (ARCVIS) investigates the visual representation of indigenous people and their local Arctic environment in the nineteenth century, a period that saw intense exploration in the region. Hundreds of sketches, paintings, and prints of indigenous people and places in the Arctic were created by travellers from lower latitudes. Yet, the dominant and enduring imaginary of the Arctic is of a space devoid of people. The project will counteract the critical focus on ice and hostile environments in the sciences and humanities and present the peopled western Arctic (Greenland, Canada, Alaska) that was encountered by ‘explorers.’ Through the analysis of picture and text in archives and published nineteenth-century texts, it will strive to give ‘voice,’ to the indigenous people who were key to the success or failure of expeditions from the south. The research is highly topical, at a time when rapidly warming Arctic regions are threatened by intense exploitation for their resources. A key element of the innovative project is the collation and interpretation of the material through an open access online geospatial platform, which combines the visuality of exploration and travel with digital methods that seek to bring out the richly contextual information often bypassed in visual documentary records. The production of the online portal will make the material accessible, contextualised, and relevant for communities in the Arctic, educators, and interested members of the public, as well as academic researchers across disciplines. In contrast to enduring images of ice and vast empty landscapes, the project will show the Arctic as a peopled environment with a rich history and heritage. The indigenous contribution to Arctic exploration in the nineteenth century, often thought to be ‘invisible,’ will be made visible by the research.
Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

UMEA UNIVERSITET

Address

Universitetomradet
901 87 Umea

Sweden

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 203 852,16

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 839477

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 August 2019

  • End date

    31 July 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 203 852,16

  • EU contribution

    € 203 852,16

Coordinated by:

UMEA UNIVERSITET

Sweden