Summer Indigenous Art Intensive

This month-long residency gathers artists, curators, writers and scholars to engage in contemporary ideas and discourse—a place for new ideas rooted in Indigenous art-making.

UBC Okanagan’s Summer Indigenous Art Intensive offers an educational series of courses, lectures, art shows, and opportunities to create art. It features a series of world-renowned speakers, a variety of related undergraduate and graduate credit courses, and a group of resident artists who will be working to create a new body of work.

2019 Program

The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive features a series of world-renowned speakers, a variety of related undergraduate and graduate credit courses, and a group of resident artists who will be working to create new works. The 2019 Intensive broadly engages the theme Site/ation, connecting to place through Indigenous territoriality, being grounded in land, voice and language, reconnecting to/nurturing traditions, and beyond.

Visiting Artists

The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive is a unique program that brings international and national Indigenous scholars, curators and artists together on campus to interact with students in a residency context. Visiting artists will participated in a series of keynote presentations and artist panels once a week throughout July.

Schedule of events

The Intensive offers an immersive experience of undergraduate and graduate courses in Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Art History and Visual Culture, and Indigenous Studies, along with panel conversations, keynote addresses, art exhibitions and performances, readings, and various additional events and fieldtrips throughout – some planned, some impromptu.

Summer Intensive Blog


Alongside the intensive residency, FCCS is offering additional courses in visual art, creative writing, and art history. These will run in conjunction with the Indigenous Summer Intensive with varying degrees of crossover, providing students the opportunity to connect with the keynote speakers and the resident artists. All courses run for the month of July.

Visual Arts: VISA 137: Introduction to Art I

Undergraduate course: Survey of art theory and practice for students with little or no previous art experience. A wide range of ideas, approaches, and media will be studied. Students will attend presentations by visiting artists, writers and thinkers exploring aspects of Indigenous identity through critical creative practice. Hands-on workshops will provide students with the opportunity to explore and develop creative responses to the materials and ideas presented.

Creative Writing: CRWR 470: Portfolio: Site-ation

Undergraduate Course: Intensive manuscript production in one or two major genres: fiction, poetry, drama, or creative non-fiction. As students begin to shape their portfolios, they will be asked to place their work in a contemporary aesthetic context guided by the conversations and decolonial aesthetics of the Summer Indigenous Art Intensive. With particular emphasis on site/context, students will attend keynote addresses, artists panels, exhibits, performances, and readings as part of their course work.

Cultural Studies: CULT 320/ARTH 323: Creative Activism: Art, Media, and Social Justice

Undergraduate Course: This course examines the links between social justice, artistic practice and media production. We assess a range of activist interventions to political crisis through contemporary art and media. We begin from the premise that all issue-oriented and identity-based social movements are characterized by unequal access to land, political power and cultural resources. Through our study of creative activism, we consider how these seemingly disparate social movements are intrinsically connected by an overarching goal of social justice. In this course, we are interested in what creative activism offers, and what it can do.

Graduate Studies: VISA 520/IGS 520: Contemporary Indigenous Art Praxis

Graduate Course: Site/ation, an in depth look at artistic ideologies born from active engagements and lived experiences on the land, land marking, contemporary art, Indigenous and unSettler art practices. Using Indigenous methodologies the class will centre land- practices and experiential processes, citing the land and its influence upon us. The 2019 summer intensive, with visiting Indigenous academics, curators and artists, will engage with ideas of Site/ation. How are we influenced, challenged, changed and politically tied to the lands in our communities and in our orbits. Participants will camp on the land together, read relevant texts, go for walks on the land, dream new relationships, and will research and learn by making and doing. Using art as strategy to guide resources and value Indigenous led spaces that acknowledge the land as the first gallery.

* ‘uninvited guest’ means acknowledging that due to dispossession of Indigenous lands and territories across Canada we operate outside of protocols that would make the local territory we are visiting within the authority of the traditional Indigenous land rights holder.


The program is open to UBC students, students from other universities and those who have a previous university degree.

  • Elder, Richard Armstrong

    Elder Richard Armstrong, Summer Intensive 2016

  • Tattoo School

    Tattoo School, Summer Intensive, 2017

  • WIR

    Writer in Residence, Richard Van Camp, Summer Intensive 2018

  • Woven Together

    Woven Together Artist Panel, Summer Intensive 2018

  • Alternator Gallery

    Opening Reception: gaa-waategamaag, Alternator Gallery, Summer Intenisive 201