Facebook event page
The Heong Gallery, Downing College, CB2 1DQ Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
***Inuit Visions of the Polar World***
The Inuit of the High Arctic are famed for their navigation skills in a vast landscape, but just how far can they travel? Come to the Heong Gallery to discover the full extent of Inuit visions of their landscape across land, sea, and ice, with routes spanning the full width of North America all the way from Alaska to Greenland. Participants will have a rare opportunity to think through these Arctic ‘songlines’ of connected trails using original large scale floor maps and hand drawn routes of the Inuit elders of Nunavut. Michael Bravo of the Scott Polar Research Institute and co-author of the Pan-Inuit Trails Atlas, will share with participants his understanding of the way in which Inuit connect with their living landscape through their long history of extraordinary travels.
Thursday, 10 May 2018.
Free. Booking essential.
As places are limited, please cancel your ticket if you are unable to attend.
From Redonda to The North Pole
Novelist M. P. Shiel (1865-1947), the originator of the Kingdom of Redonda story, gained his literary reputation through The Purple Cloud (1901, revised 1929), which features the tale of the first man to reach the North Pole, who, upon his return, realises that a cloud of poisonous gases has wiped out all of humanity. The vivid desciption of the Arctic journey elevated Shiel's reputation from that of a writer of serialised pulp horror to one of greater imaginative and literary merit.
While it is disputed whether Frederick Cook (1908) or Robert Edwin Peary (1909) was the 'first man' to reach the Geographic North Pole, there is no doubt that both successful expeditions comprised Inuit men and women.
About the Pan-Inuit Trails Atlas
The Atlas provides a synoptic view (although certainly incomplete) of Inuit mobility and occupancy of Arctic waters, coasts and lands, including its icescapes, as documented in written historical records (maps of trails and place names).
The documents that form the foundation of this Atlas consist of both published and unpublished accounts of Inuit engagement with cartography during the 19th and 20th centuries. All documents are held in public libraries or archives. The focus of the Atlas in this initial project is on material from the Eastern and Central Canadian Arctic. It is hoped that the Atlas can be further developed in subsequent phases to present material of other Inuit groups such as the Inupiat, Inuvialuit, and peoples of Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and Nunavik.
Delineations of trails and place names play a critical role in documenting the Inuit spatial narratives about their homelands. To show where these trails lead and connect to other trails, the historical records used in making this Atlas are being relationally linked, referenced geospatially, and displayed on a base map.
Viewers can also explore the source maps to understand better how this dynamic network of trails, part of the fabric of Inuit territory and history, has been mapped piecemeal by explorers, missionaries, and scientists in the course of cartographic encounters. What is too often lost, however, is a sense of the bigger picture, the territorial coherence of the Inuit people over Arctic waters. These largely encompass and exceed the scope of the hydrographic mapping surveys that have taught generations of students to envision Inuit Arctic waters through the more limited vision of Northwest Passage routes.