Science / project summary
This project combines visual, historical, and anthropological methodologies to approach social, cultural and environmental change in four Greenlandic communities. The project centers around the work of Rockwell Kent, an American artist and writer, who resided in Greenland in the early 1930s and produced photographs, art, and literature about his time in the country. Kent’s rare historic lantern slides, not viewed in Greenland since their production, will be displayed and discussed with contemporary community members in the four locations where they were originally taken, Illorsuit, Sisimiut, Nuuk, and Uummannaq. Community members will be interviewed about Kent and changes that have occurred in these communities since the 1930s. In keeping with Arctic Social Sciences Program initiatives, the project provides comparative study, research partnerships, and educational and interactive collaboration with community residents. Workshops will be held with students in each community, during which pupils will be taught photographic techniques to produce their own images. PI Denis Defibaugh, RIT Professor of Photography, in collaboration with Co-PIs Jette Rygaard, Lecturer in Literature and Media at Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland), Axel Jeremiassen, PhD student at Ilisimatusarfik, and Susan Vanek, PhD student in anthropology at Binghamton University will produce an ethnographic study with still photographs and video incorporating both oral histories and archival materials. The research will provide insight into how Inuit communities in Greenland define themselves during a period of rapid social, cultural, and environmental change incurred by modernization efforts, political transitions, economic shifts, and the construction of regional and national identities. The project will further the development of community-based participatory research methodologies and will have a crucial student research training and capacity-building aspect in the form of collaboration with Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland.