Newfoundland’s Heather Igloliorte was named the inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of Victoria on Thursday as the federal government announced $248 million in funding for research programs at Canadian universities.
Igloliorte was one of 34 research chairs at 18 post-secondary schools named to new positions during a press conference in Vancouver. The decorated Inuk and Nunatsiavut art historian and curator receives $8 million in funding over an eight-year period to train and mentor Indigenous and other equity-deserving post-secondary students in the areas of decolonial and transformational Indigenous art practices at UVic.
“The arts have the power to challenge the historical narrative of Canada’s colonial ‘truth’ as told—and hidden—by museums, galleries, educational institutions and public spaces,” Igloliorte said in a statement.
“With art, we can create meaningful shifts in relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and support systemic and structural cultural, social and economic change towards decolonization.”
Igloliorte specializes in Indigenous creative practices and has held prestigious positions with Montreal’s Concordia University, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, among others.
She will focus on institutional, community-based and collaborative research and experimentation in art-making, exhibitions, policy and public engagement during her time at UVic.
“Alongside many partners who have committed to share in the work of this CERC, our goal is to leverage the transformative power of art and creative intervention for the benefit of Indigenous futurity — especially through the work of artists and communities,” Igloliorte said.