Spatial Storytelling: Land, Art, Place and Community


University of Lethbridge
Lead Faculty: Jackson 2Bears
Participating Faculty: Devon Smither, Denton Fredrickson, Josie Mills, Tanya Doody
Course: LandMarks2017: Spatial Storytelling: Land, Art, Place and Community

The Indigenous worldview maintains that history is something “written on the land”—that the landscape is itself an animate, living, and embodied archive. From this perspective, this course endeavoured to explore what Vine Deloria Jr. called the “spatiality” of storytelling—how stories can be dimensional as well as durational; how narratives are intricately interconnected with “place,” the landscape, and the environment.

For LandMarks2017 we chose Indian Battle Park—located in the Oldman River valley, in Lethbridge, Alberta, and on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot—as a site of inspiration for our collective, creative, and cultural practices, which took the form of site-contingent installations and performances.

Our class worked with artist Michael Belmore and curator Natalia Lebedinskaia to develop the artworks for our chosen site. We were inspired by Michael’s proposal to create a work about a “dialogue that examines the point where the water meets land,” as well as the overall themes in his work of movement, territory, and troubled historical narratives. At its core, this course was about embodied storytelling and the ways in which we might “participate” with the landscape while exploring our individual relationships with the living archive of this specific location and its rich cultural histories.

Student Artists: Jennifer Bowen, Star Crop Eared Wolf, Margie Crop Eared Wolf, Joel Cross Child, Deirdre Earl, Alison Frank, Loraine Menicoche-Moses, Sarah Russell, Arcana Shanks, Sheila Shaw, Michelle Sylvestre

Artist Projects

Student Work

Students of Art Studio Program