SeaSCAPE: indigenous storytelling studio

Funding Details
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
  • Grant type: Insight Grants
  • Years: 2015/16 to 2018/19
  • Total Funding: $253,260
Keywords
Principle Investigator(s)
Collaborator(s)
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Project Summary

SeaSCAPE - Indigenous Storytelling Studio: Engaging Coastal Communities on Energy Futures Problem: As global demands for energy rise, British Columbia's (BC) resource-rich land and waters generate increased debate about precisely how energy development will take place. In recent years three high-profile pipeline proposals have attracted particular debate: Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL (Garvey 2015). These energy infrastructure projects offer new opportunities and connections and also impose new environmental, social, and cultural challenges (see Collaborator: Bagelman 2015). While energy companies have mapped the anticipated impact of energy development on Indigenous communities in BC, many communities have expressed that these representations are inadequate (Garvey 2015). In particular, coastal communities have identified that there remains a scarcity of engaged research tools to examine the lived impact of offshore oil and tanker traffic on marine environments (see Co-applicant: Menzies 2015). It is our goal to understand these limitations and enhance coastal Indigenous peoples' capacity to document and publicly communicate their own experiences. Our project co-develops innovative research tools with coastal communities to facilitate much needed reconciliation on the pressing question of resource development in Canada capitalizing on innovative community mapping. Contribution: We believe that it is essential to promote modes of representation that are developed with and by Indigenous communities, and in the places that they live. Co-Applicant Peter Keller and his doctoral student Jonathan Corbett pioneered a methodology and measured its capacity for representation and empowerment in a case study in Borneo (Corbett and Keller, 2005; Corbett et al, 2005). Co-Applicant Charles Menzies has made the case that designing tools for assessing the impact of resource development on Indigenous communities is vital to promote understanding of community needs (Menzies 2015). Our project proposes to develop an interactive Indigenous-led research toolkit: the 'SeaSCAPE: Indigenous Storytelling Studio' designed to facilitate meaningful assessment of community's thoughts on, and representations of, energy development.This Studio is a set of multi-modal mobile storytelling tools that can travel to selected communities. Our collaborative research team will offer on-site training and communities will become key drivers in developing these tools according to their own needs for representation. As such, our project promotes a new model for public engagement on one of the most pressing issues facing Canada today in a manner that brings marginalized voices to the fore. This project will develop digital storytelling tools which then can travel and be used by further communities in an effort to nourish Indigenous ways of representing and communicating (Menzies 2007) not only impacts of energy development, but also other natural resource development proposals. Cases: Many coastal Indigenous communities contend that industry-led research attempts to convey the impact of high-profile pipeline proposals are insufficient. Coastal First Nations, an alliance of First Nations across BC, have argued that these industry-designed maps tend to include Indigenous voices and visions in a very limited, secondary manner (Bowles 2014). The Joint Review Panel (JRP) documents the dissatisfaction publicly expressed by Indigenous communities with this limited vision. For instance, in the Review John Bertacco of the Lake Babine Nation reflected on the limited mode of representation used by Enbridge to measure impact on Indigenous lives.