Summer Indigenous Art Intensive

The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive is a 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.

The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive has been coordinated by the Department of Creative Studies since 2013 and is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

2018 Program

UBC Okanagan’s Summer Indigenous Art Intensive offers an educational series of courses, lectures, art shows, and opportunities to create art. 
The Summer Indigenous Art Intensive, organized by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS), means a jam-packed July. 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.  

The 2018 Intensive will broadly engage the theme GroundWorks, connecting to place and founding practices, 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 and artists together on campus to interact with students in a residency context. Visiting artists will participate in a series of keynote presentations and artist panels on Wednesday afternoon throughout July, beginning at 12pm. See Schedule of Events for further details.

The sii18 visiting artists-in-residence are: 

Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a PhD student in the Department of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and holds an MSt in Women's Studies from the University of Oxford and Wadham College. His research interests stretch from queer, trans, and feminist studies to ethics to decolonization.

Carlos Colín was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He grew up in Mexico City and studied Visual Communication and Design from 2000-04. He earned his MFA at the National School of Fine Art in Mexico City in 2011 and in 2013, Colín completed a second MFA at the University of British Columbia. He is currently a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia. As a Latin American artist, one of Colín’s primary focuses are the concepts of baroque in the Latin American region, mostly in Mexico, how this is reflected and affected by elements and patterns since colonial times, and how we can see these baroque manifestations in the XXI century in Mexico and abroad. The research that sustains his artistic and theoretical production is through local, diasporic, and marginal perceptions, knowledge, realities, history, social movements, resistances, and subversions as expressions and didactics towards socio-cultural-political expressions.

Ryan Feddersen Confederated Tribes of the Colville (Okanogan /Arrow Lakes /German /English) is a mixed-media installation artist who specializes in interactive and immersive artworks that invite audience engagement. She was born and raised in Wenatchee, WA. Feddersen received a BFA at Cornish College of the Arts in 2009, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She remained in Seattle for approximately ten years while working as an artist, studio assistant, and arts administrator, before relocating to Tacoma, WA, where she is now based with her husband and two cats, Brock, Gonzo, and Gamma Ray. She was inspired to create interactive and temporary artworks as a way to honor an Indigenous perspective on the relationship between artist and community. Her approach emphasizes humor, play, and creative engagement to create opportunities for personal introspection and discovery. Feddersen has created large-scale interactive installations and site-specific pieces throughout the region, working with Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Tacoma Art Museum, MoPOP (EMP), The Henry Gallery, Museum of Northwest Art, Spokane Arts, Spaceworks, and the Missoula Art Museum. Recently, Feddersen was named a 2018 National Fellow in Visual Arts with the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Tarah Hogue is a curator, writer, and uninvited guest on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories/Vancouver, B.C. where she has lived since 2008. Of Métis and was Dutch ancestry, Hogue was raised in Red Deer, A.B. on the border between Treaty 6 and 7 territories. She holds a master's degree in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her work engages collaborative methodologies and a careful attentiveness to place in order to decentre colonial modes of perception within institutional spaces. Hogue is the inaugural Senior Curatorial Fellow, Indigenous Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her upcoming exhibition, Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin: how do you carry the land? features the artists' ongoing collaborative performance art practice. She is also a Visiting Curator at the Institute of Modern Art in Mianjin Brisbane for 2018 along with Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Freja Carmichael, Léuli Lunaʻi Eshraghi, and Lana Lopesi. She was curator-in-residence with grunt gallery between 2014–2017, the 2016 Audain Aboriginal Curatorial Fellow at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and has curated exhibitions at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Or Gallery, and SFU Gallery. She is co-organizer of #callresponse with Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard, currently touring through 2019, and is on the Board of Directors of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective/Collectif des Commissaires Autochtones. Hogue has written texts for BlackFlash, Canadian Art, Decoy Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, and MICE Magazine.

Liz Howard was born and raised on Treaty 9 territory in northern Ontario and is of mixed European and Anishinaabe descent. She received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction from the University of Toronto and an MFA in Creative Writing through the University of Guelph. Her poetry has appeared on Canadian literary journals such as The Capilano Review, The Puritan, and Matrix Magazine. Her chapbook Skullambient was shortlisted for the 2012 bpNichol Chapbook Award. Her debut collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent (McClelland & Stewart, 2015), won the Griffin Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Find out more about Liz.

Jaimie Isaac is of Anishinaabe and British descent and is member of Sagkeeng First Nation.  She holds a Master’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a BA in Art History with an Arts and Cultural Management Certificate from the University of Winnipeg. Her MA thesis was titled, "Decolonizing curatorial practice: acknowledging Indigenous cultural praxis, mapping its agency, recognizing its aesthetic within contemporary Canadian art." Isaac is a founding member of The Ephemerals Collective, an all-female Indigenous arts collective based out of Winnipeg. She has sat on the boards of numerous Canadian art organizations including the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and the Aboriginal Manitoba Music association. In 2010, Isaac was employed as the visual arts coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. In 2016, Isaac was co-faculty with artist Duane Linklater at the Summer Institute of the Wood Land School at Plug In Institute. From 2015 to 2017, Isaac served as the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Aboriginal Curatorial Resident, a position funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2017, Isaac was hired as Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Find out more about Jamie

Steven Loft is Mohawk of the Six Nations with Jewish heritage and is a curator, scholar, writer and media artist. He is the Director, Indigenous Arts at the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2010 he was named Trudeau National Visiting Fellow at Ryerson University in Toronto where he continued his research into Indigenous art and aesthetics. He has curated group and solo exhibitions across Canada and internationally; written extensively for magazines, catalogues and arts publications; and lectured widely in Canada and internationally. Loft co-edited Transference, Technology, Tradition: Aboriginal Media and New Media Art (Banff Centre Press, 2005) and is the editor of Coded Territories: Indigenous Pathways in New Media. This book of essays by artists, curators, and scholars frames the landscape of contemporary Aboriginal new media art.

Dylan Miner is a Wiisaakodewinini (Métis) artist, activist, and scholar. He is currently Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies and Associate Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. Miner sits on the Michigan Indian Education Council and is a founding member of the Justseeds artists collective. He holds a PhD from The University of New Mexico and has published more than sixty journal articles, book chapters, critical essays, and encyclopedia entries. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship through the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institution). Miner has been featured in more than twenty solo exhibitions – with two planned in 2018 – and has been artist-in-residence or visiting artist at institutions such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, École supérieure des beaux-arts in Nantes, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Rabbit Island, Santa Fe Art Institute, and numerous universities, art schools, and low-residency MFA programs. His book Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island was published in 2014 by the University of Arizona Press. Miner is currently completing a book on contemporary Indigenous aesthetics and writing his first book of poetry, Ikidowinan Ninandagikendaanan (words I must learn). In 2017, Miner hung solo exhibitions in Ontario and at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, taught a course on ecology at Ox-bow School of Art and Artists' Residency, published an artist's book with Issue Press, and exhibited in group shows in Norway, Ireland, Canada, and the US. In the past year, he has also published an artist’s book titled Aanikoobijigan // Waawaashkeshi, a booklet on Métis and Anishinaabe beadwork, and a chapbook on quillwork.

Julie Nagam is the Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America this is a joint appointment with the University of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Her current SSHRC projects include: The Transactive Memory Keepers: Indigenous Public Engagement in Digital and New Media Labs and Exhibitions and The Kanata Indigenous Performance, New and Digital Media Art ( She is a co-applicant in partnership grant Initiative for Indigenous Futures ( and hosted the first Public symposium entitled, Radically Shifting Our Indigenous Future(s): Through Art, Scholarship and Technology at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in late 2017. She has co-edited Indigenous Art New Media and the Digital as a special issue of PUBIC Art, Culture + Ideas journal. Currently she is curating a public art installation for a Reconciliation walk at the Forks in Winnipeg and leading a team to create an Indigenous App for Winnipeg’s art, architectural, and place-based history. She is co-curator of Insurgence/Resurgence, a massive Indigenous contemporary exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that opened in fall 2017. She has curated and exhibited in ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Her artwork, where white pines lay over the water, was shown in Toronto, Ontario, San Paulo, Brazil, Lyon, France, and Wellington, New Zealand. Her installation, singing our bones home, was shown in Markham (2013), in London, England (2013), and in Winnipeg (2014). Find out more about Julie

Meghann O’Brien is a Northwest Coast weaver from the community of Alert Bay, BC. Her innovative approach to the traditional artforms of basketry, Yeil Koowu (Raven's Tail) and Naaxiin (Chilkat) textiles connects to the rhythms and patterns of the natural world and creates a continuity between herself and her ancestors. O’Brien, who left the world of professional snowboarding to work fulltime as a weaver in 2010, employs materials such as hand-spun mountain goat wool and cedar bark in her meticulous weavings and baskets. She has apprenticed with master weavers Kerri Dick, Sherri Dick, and William White. O’Brien now lives in Vancouver, B.C. and is currently exploring the intersection of Indigenous materials and techniques with the world of fashion. She travels globally to lecture and demonstrate yet emphasizes the value of contributing to the contemporary ceremonial practices of the Haida and Kwakwakw’wakw people.

taisha paggett is a dance artist whose individual and collaborative interdisciplinary works re-articulate and collide specific western choreographic practices with the politics of daily life in order to interrogate fixed notions of queer black embodiment and survival. Such works include the dance company project, WXPT (we are the paper, we are the trees), and the collaborative School for the Movement of the Technicolor People, both of which seek to radicalize concepts held within contemporary dance by way of an intersection with social practice; critical pedagogy; somatic and contemplative investigations; queer, feminist, and black studies; performance and visual art studies; and the political and philosophical meshes of personal history. paggett received a BA in Art History from UC Santa Cruz, an MFA from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, and is grateful to now be amongst the UC Riverside community.

Ryan Rice is a Mohawk of Kahnawake, Quebec received a MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, graduated from Concordia University with a BFA and received an Associate of Fine Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has worked for the past 18 years within the museum/art gallery milieu at various centers including the Iroquois Indian Museum, Indian Art Centre, Carleton University Art Gallery, and the Walter Phillips Art Gallery. He has published articles in the periodicals - Canadian Art, Spirit, Fuse, Muse, and BlackFlash, and numerous catalogues. Rice was also a co-founder and former director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. His exhibitions include ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native Land, Oh So Iroquois, Scout's Honour, LORE, Hochelaga Revisited, ALTERNATION, Soul Sister: Re-imagining Kateri Tekakwitha, and Counting Coup. From 2009 - 2014, he was the Chief Curator the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In August 2014, Rice was appointed Chair of Indigenous Visual Culture program at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. He was also named 2014-15 Audain Aboriginal Curatorial Fellow at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Natalie Robertson (Ngāti Porou, Clann Dhònnchaidh) is a photographic and moving image artist and Senior Lecturer at AUT University, Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Much of Robertson’s practice is based in Te Tai Rawhiti, her East Coast Ngati Porou homelands. Here, her focus is on her ancestral Waiapu River and the protracted catastrophic impacts of colonization, deforestation, and agriculture. As a tribal member, Robertson sees it as a responsibility to protect the mauri (life force) of the river. She uses photography and video to record the state of the river, surrounding land, and to communicate tribal narratives. Drawing on historic archives and tribal oral customs, her research terrain and artistic practice engages with Indigenous relationships to land and place, exploring Maori knowledge practices, environmental issues, and cultural landscapes. She has exhibited extensively in public institutions throughout New Zealand and internationally, including the 2016-17 multi-venue group exhibition Politics of Sharing in Berlin, Stuttgart, Waitangi and Auckland, and a 2014 solo exhibition Te Ahikāroa: Home Fires Burning at the C.N. Gorman Museum, California. Over the course of five years, Robertson photographed for A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830–1930, written by Ngarino Ellis, published in March 2016. In May 2017, the book won The Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Robertson is also a member of Local Time (est. 2007), a collective which facilitates site-specific projects, honing in on local and Indigenous contexts.

Sarah Shamash is a Vancouver based media artist and PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at UBC. Influenced by cinema, her experimental projects typically explore identities and geographies as personal, political, feminine, and dynamic, while critiquing and subverting fixed, colonial, and hegemonic demarcations of the body, territory, and space. Since the 2000s she has been exhibiting her work in art venues and film festivals. She is currently teaching a film studies course she designed on Latin American cinema and programming films for the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Her work as an artist, researcher, educator, and programmer can be understood as interconnected and whole; they all revolve around a passion for cinema.

Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Tłı̨chǫ Dene from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. He is the author of two children’s books with the Cree artist George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a feature film with First Generation Films; his collections of short fiction include Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go and Other Stories, Godless but Loyal to Heaven and Night Moves. He is the author of four baby books: Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns; Nighty Night: A Bedtime Song for Babies and Little You (now translated into Cree, Dene and South Slavey!) and We Sang You Home, and he has two comic books out with the Healthy Aboriginal Network: Kiss Me Deadly and Path of the Warrior. His graphic novel, Three Feathers, is about restorative justice; his new novel, Whistle, is about mental health and asking for forgiveness and his graphic novel, The Blue Raven, is about mental health and the power of culture and friends. His Eisner nominated graphic novel, A Blanket of Butterflies, is about peacemaking where a grandmother is the hero of the story and his latest graphic novel, Spirit, is about suicide prevention. Cinematic adaptations of his work include “Mohawk Midnight Runners”, by Zoe Hopkins based on Richard’s short story, “Dogrib Midnight Runners” from The Moon of Letting Go, Kelvin Redver’s adaptation of “firebear called them faith healers”, and Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s adaptation of “Hickey Gone Wrong”, based on Richard’s comic book with Chris Auchter and “Three Feathers”, which is available for viewing in Bush Cree, Dene, and South Slavey, as well as English, based on his graphic novel. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at

Olivia Whetung is anishinaabekwe and a member of Curve Lake First Nation. She completed her BFA with a minor in anishinaabemowin at Algoma University in 2013, and her MFA at the University of British Columbia in 2016. Whetung works in various media including beadwork, printmaking, and digital media. Her work explores acts of/active native presence, as well as the challenges of working with/in/through Indigenous languages in an art world dominated by the English language. Her work is informed in part by her experiences as an anishinaabemowin learner. Whetung is from the area now called the Kawarthas, and presently resides on Chemong Lake.

T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss' diverse heritage includes Skwxwu7mesh, Sto:lo, Irish-Métis, Hawaiian, and Swiss. An artist, she has extensive experience producing various formats of media art for almost 30 years and works as an ethnobotanist with traditional training by Indigenous elders. Wyss combines culturally focused teaching with storytelling as a means to share knowledge. She recently co-authored Journey to Kaho'olawe, covering more than two centuries of the Kanaka family's migration to the Pacific Northwest coast, and was also a recipient of the City of Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award for film and new media in 2010. Among her long list of artist residencies and presentations is the Stanley Park Environmental Art Project, where she helped create public artworks after a storm devastated Stanley Park in 2006. Wyss is the 2018 Vancouver Public Library Indigenous Storyteller in Residence. Find out more about T’uy’t’tanat-Cease.


Alongside the intensive residency, FCCS is offering additional courses in visual art, creative writing, and performance. 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 will run from July 3 to 26, 2018. 

Visual Arts: VISA 103: Drawing and Two-dimensional Practices II | Instructor: Holly Ward

Undergraduate course: VISA 103 is a 3 credit studio course focusing on historical and innovative approaches to pictorial representation, as well as uses of materials, processes, supports and methods of composition. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which these may be tied to the major concepts and practices behind contemporary visual expression.  Dovetailing and integrating with the Summer Indigenous Residency Program, students will attend all presentations by visiting Indigenous artists, writers and thinkers exploring aspects of Indigenous identity and sovereignty through critical creative practice. Hands-on workshops developed in conjunction with invited guests will provide students with the opportunity to explore and develop creative responses to the materials and ideas presented, with an emphasis on experimentation and individual artistic development. 

This course is intended to build skill, confidence, critical and independent thinking.

Creative Writing: CRWR 382P: A Creative Writing Collaboratory | Instructor: Matt Rader

Undergraduate Course: How can a writer collaborate with others? A practice-based course, the Collaboratory, provides opportunities for writers to explore how their work might be informed and transformed by direct engagement with artists from a variety of practices including visual arts, performance, and critical studies, while inviting those same artists to explore how writers can shape and reshape their own practices. Guided by Indigenous and Pragmatic ways of knowing and modelled on Open Access tenets of emergent, collectively-held space, the Collaboratory asks through the making of new works: How does a writer collaborate with language, with audience, with self? How does collaboration with material, image, and sound influence writing? In what ways do writers collaborate with history, ecology, and power? What makes collaboration possible? What makes it necessary? 

Theatre: THTR 301: Special Topics in Performance Styles | Instructor: Neil Cadger

Undergraduate Course: The course will provide students the opportunity to explore traditional and contemporary based performance practices in conjuction with the Intensive. This will be delivered as a studio course but will also involve class participants interacting with guest Indigenous artists, Elders, and to attend events that reflect Indigenous practices.

Visual Arts: VISA 460J: Time and Abstraction | Instructor: Katherine Pickering

Undergraduate course: This course provides students with the opportunity to strengthen their art practice by engaging deeply with creative research around specific sites in the Okanagan. Coursework begins outdoors with a series of assignments intended to strengthen students' powers of observation. Back in the studio, a variety of short experiments will jump start the development of self-directed project ideas by identifying the core priorities in their art practice. Class discussions, critical feedback and journaling will further student's in-depth investigation of their creative thought processes, and help to generate new avenues for investigation. Weekly contact with resident artists will provide examples of the diverse range of approaches to visual research and highlight the role of cultural identity and the importance of place within the artists' practice. This course is appropriate for artists and creative thinkers at every stage of their development. 

INDG 295: the Extraction and Reclamation of Indigenous Cultural Heritage | Instructor: Greg Younging

Undergraduate Course: The course will cover the history of the extraction and attempted elimination of Indigenous cultural heritage, including artistic expression, through the Residential School Era (1938-1990) and the Culture Ban (1884-1948) through the Indian Act. The imposition of Eurocentric Intellectual Property Rights law on Traditional Knowledge will also be covered, as well as the application of colonizing false narratives and stereotypes. The Reclamation of Indigenous cultural heritage, beginning in the 1960s through to the present, will be traced and analyzed. Overall, the course will have an historical through to contemporary Indigenous Arts Focus. 

Graduate Studies: VISA 520/IGS 520: Contemporary Indigenous Art Praxis | Instructor: Stephen Foster

Graduate Course: In this course students will investigate the methodologies and practices of Indigenous Artists in contemporary contexts of creative praxis, including visual and performance art. The focus of this compressed intensive course will be on Indigenous art that engages social, political, regional, and global issues in relationship to diverse communities and contexts. The immersive environment will involve nine hours per week for a four-week period and will create a learning environment that encourages in-depth exploration of the traditions, methods, and practices of studio artists and curators. 

Registration is open for all of the courses listed above. UBC students can register when they log into SSC.

Schedule of Events

The Intensive offers an immersive experience of undergraduate and graduate courses in Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Performance, 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. 

Visit our Summer Intensive Blog for the calendar of events and updates throughout the month of July. 

Registration information

UBC students can register in any of the courses that are on offer as part of the the 2018 program. Regular tuition and fees apply for all courses. 

Enrollment at UBC's Okanagan campus as an Unclassified student is intended for those students who have a previous university degree and want to enroll in courses not intended to lead to a particular UBC degree or diploma. You must first apply to UBC in order to register as an Unclassified Student. 

Under the terms of the Western Deans' Agreement, graduate students of the member institutions may take courses at another member institution without having to pay the host university's tuition fee. Below is a link to the information at the UBC Okanagan campus. If you are at another institution, and want to utilize the WDA, you must contact your graduate program. 

If you are a student completing a degree program at a recognized degree-granting institution, you are welcome to apply to UBC's Okanagan campus as a visiting student, and to take courses at UBC that will transfer back to your home institution.

Instructions on how to apply as a visiting student:


Stephen Foster

Department Head, Creative Studies

Last reviewed shim6/25/2018 12:58:35 PM