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Introducing Our Design and Arts Programmer!

9 Aug

The Museum of Inuit Art is pleased to welcome our fourth summer student for 2014, Natasha Dinsmore!

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My name is Natasha Dinsmore, I am a Ryerson University student currently working on obtaining my bachelor of design. I am fortunate to be joining the MIA team for the summer as the Design and Arts Programmer, a position that is made possible by Miziwe Biik.

My background is Inuvialuit, my mother was born and raised in Inuvik, so I am very passionate about working with and learning more about Inuit art. I am entering my final year at Ryerson University and my graduating collection will be inspired by my Inuit background. This is also a great opportunity for me to further gain experience in creating promotional materials and honing my graphic design abilities.

Tasks that Natasha will be completing over the month of August include the creation of a brochure to promote our school programs, promotional banners for the website, and the development of art activities for the 2015 calendar year.

- Posted by: Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator

Introducing Our YCW Summer Students!

7 Jun

We would like to formally welcome our two summer students, Serena and Lauren, to the team. MIA will be focusing its energy on some of its core operations over the summer thanks to the help of two summer student positions funded through Young Canada Works. Our ‘Follow Your Art’ program will  undergo rigorous evaluation by our Visitor Services Officer while new acquisitions are processed with the help of our Collections Management Officer.

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My name is Serena Ypelaar and I’m thrilled to have joined the MIA team as Visitor Services Officer!

I’m a student at the University of Ottawa, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in History and English Literature. I’m passionate about museums, and I’m eager to contribute at MIA! This summer, I will be evaluating the Follow Your Art program here at the museum. Part of this project involves the development of a study to gain insight on the success of the program. I will survey museum visitors in the hope of understanding how the Follow Your Art program has affected their overall MIA experience.

The Follow Your Art program is a self-guided tour option at the MIA which seeks to highlight the varying elements of Inuit art. The program involves a personality quiz which allows visitors to discover which art style (Realism, Minimalism, Expressionism, Abstract or Grotesque) appeals to them. With this insight, visitors can follow the different styles throughout the museum, hopefully gaining a deeper understanding of the art in addition to a personal connection with the works. The Follow Your Art program is designed to be thought-provoking and to challenge expectations of Inuit art.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work in such a wonderful museum, where I hope to expand my knowledge of museum work and Inuit art. I look forward to meeting you!

 

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My name is Lauren Williams and I will be spending the summer at the MIA as the Collections Management Officer!

As a recent graduate of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto I am excited to be working in my chosen field!  I always loved museums from what I could see as a visitor but it wasn’t until I began studying museology that I realized that I wanted to work in collections management. My first foray into the collections field was interning in the Artifacts Department at the Ontario Science Centre last summer.  It was there that I gained experience working with a large variety of objects – from wooden looms to carbon fibre violins.  I am excited for the opportunity to continue to diversify my collections experience and MIA is the perfect place for me to do this! Already I am enjoying learning about the different types of materials used in Inuit art such as stone, bone, ivory, and antler.  I love that sometimes collections work can have lots of similarities to detective work – I am always following clues and researching – and am excited to solve some mysteries in the MIA collection!

 

- Posted by: Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator

Worldwide Knit in Public Day!

5 Jun

IMG_3376   MIA front lobby podium covered in crochet hexagons to celebration of Worldwide Knit in Public Day.

June is a pretty big month here at MIA. This coming Saturday we will officially be reopening our doors to welcome in brand new exhibitions featuring even more examples of art styles, materials, and themes. We’ll also be celebrating National Aboriginal History Month with fun games and prizes AND we’ve just launched another community based project with local Toronto knitting groups (including the Bissell Bombers) as part of  World Wide Knit in Public Day!

For those unfamiliar with WWKiP Day, it all began back in 2005 when Danielle Landes gathered together a group of knitters. Rather than perform this traditionally solitary practice alone, they created an opportunity to spend some time together and really get to know their neighbors. That desire for human interaction and creative outlet inspired others to join and over the following years a simple day of knitting has turned into a global public art movement.

This Saturday and Sunday, MIA will be hosting knit inspired programming in our newly renovated space. From 12-4 visitors can join our Arts Assistants who will be giving demonstrations on the several different methods of pom pom making and how to create a bracelet with needle-less knitting techniques.

Special community exhibition case be prepared for visitor contributions as a part of Worldwide Knit in Public Day celebrations.

All of these yarn creations can be tokens of a fun day spent knitting out in public, or you can have them displayed in our special exhibition area. For the entire month of June, MIA has dedicated a public curated space to showcase the unique talent within the community. Those who wish to participate by bringing supplies and taking part of our Knit in Public activities receive FREE admission.

Hope to see all you crafters this weekend!

- Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Goodbyes!

30 May

It saddens me to write this, but my internship has officially come to end. I’ve had a wonderful learning experience at the MIA and I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done here. As of this afternoon, all of the lesson plans and teacher resources are up on our website and waiting to be enthusiastically implemented by teachers in the upcoming school year! Besides honing my lesson planning skills, I’ve definitely come away with more knowledge about Inuit art and history and confidence to infuse this critical subject matter into different curricular strands.

Many thanks to my supervisor, Alysa Procida, who will certainly be missed. Her expert advice, thorough proofreading and careful attention to detail helped to make these resources as polished and accurate as possible. Thanks to Brittany Holliss and Lindsay Bontoft for their continued help and support, as well!

I’m looking forward to one day making use of these resources myself and bringing my students to the museum for a guided tour.

See you later!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Week 4 Insights

24 May

Hello again!

Now that I’ve completed all of the grade 4-12 lesson plans (which should be up on the MIA’s website sometime next week, so keep an eye out for them!), I’ve been primarily focused on producing supplemental in-class resources. One way to bring the “museum experience” to the classroom is to have informative and interactive materials for teachers to implement and tailor to their students’ needs.

The MIA has long embraced technology as part of its mission to promote educational awareness of Inuit art and serve the local community. Above all, accessibility remains a cornerstone of each project undertaken by the institution and my work here is no exception. Similarly, my teaching practice and education at OISE have reinforced the need for technology-driven learning in order to adequately respond to students with diverse needs.

Teachers are encouraged to use all available media to enhance their lessons and help students make a connection to the artist and their artwork prior to coming to the museum for a visit. For instance, the origin stories of the Inuit Sea Goddess (commonly referred to as Sedna, however there are many different names for her) have been a source of inspiration for many Inuit artists. Although they vary from region to region in the Arctic, they ultimately conclude with the young girl falling victim to a rather violent severing of her fingers, which later transform into sea mammals. By giving students an opportunity to explore various interpretations of the Inuit Sea Goddess, they come away with a better understanding of the diversity and complexity of the Inuit culture.

Screen capture of Grade 11/12 Visual Arts slideshow

It’s also important for teachers to elevate the classroom discussion and enable students to dispel inaccurate notions or misconceptions about the Inuit in Canada. The goal should be to build an enduring understanding and respect, and what better way to connect to another community than by exploring the different forms and styles of Inuit art.

Screen capture of Grade 9 Native Studies slideshow

This was just a preview of what’s to come. I’ll be back with my final post next week to wrap up my internship!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Dispatches from the Intern

17 May

So, another week of internship comes to an end, but let’s go back in time for a minute and review last weekend’s visit to Downsview Public Library on behalf of the MIA!

As you may recall from my previous post, I was asked to conduct hands-on activities as part of the MAP Family Saturdays program that runs across Toronto Public Library branches. There were 7 kids, ranging from ages 4-12, that came by with parents in tow. To set up, I laid out various museum artifacts on a table, including a narwhal ivory tusk and the tooth of a polar bear, and I could tell by the looks on the kids’ faces, they were eager to see and feel the materials up close! Before I passed the artifacts around, I kicked things off with a little DPA (that’s Daily Physical Activity, for the non-teachers out there) and an ice breaker. It was great to see most of the parents participate as well!

After getting everyone’s heart rate going, the kids settled into a circle on the floor and I began talking about the artifacts—their composition, origin, and purpose—and one by one, the kids took turns carefully examining each piece,  making great observations about each artifact, and drawing comparisons between daily life in the Arctic and their own personal lives.

Next, it was time to get their hands a little dirty and move onto art making! I brought along some plasticine and modelled how to create an inuksuk (plural: inuksuit; generally written as inukshuk to reflect its English pronunciation), which are human-made stone formations found throughout the Arctic.

Inuksuit on Baffin Island, Nunavut

By now, most people are familiar with this iconic symbol, but many are unfamiliar with its traditional origin and meaning. Acting in the place of a person, the inuksuk can serve many purposes; it is often used in navigation and hunting, and has played a crucial role in Inuit survival on the land. Inuksuit are commonly created in the shape of a person (accurately called innunguaq) and provided the basis for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics logo! Suffice to say, the kids really enjoyed creating their own version of an inuksuk, and some even went as far as giving it a name and a personal story. Very imaginative!

My on-site tasks during week 3 included devising a lesson plan based on the curriculum for the Grade 10 Native Studies course, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and creating additional  materials for classroom use. In order to facilitate all of the visual arts lessons, I’ve begun creating slideshows featuring pieces from the museum’s permanent collection and gallery. I think these slideshows could provide teachers with an excellent starting point for their lessons and help develop students’ critical analysis and interpretation skills.

It looks like next week’s plate is rather full, but I’m looking forward to it!

Happy long weekend!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Updates from Week 2

10 May

The second week of internship has just flown by. I’m already at the halfway point and thus far, my experience at the MIA has been really positive and fulfilling. All the research time I’ve put in has rewarded me with great ideas for teacher resources (some of which I hope to use myself in the future!).

While I haven’t had as much time to delve into hands-on activities at the museum, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do so this Saturday, May 11th, as part of MAP Family Saturdays at Toronto Public Libraries (TPL)! MAP (Museum + Arts Pass)  allows families (2 adults and up to 5 children)  to explore many of Toronto’s best cultural and artistic sites for free! You can request a pass for you and your family at any TPL branch.

MAP Family Saturdays at TPL

This Saturday, however, I’m bringing the museum experience directly to Downsview Public Library (2793 Keele St. at Wilson Ave.) for kids’  hands-on activities They’ll have a chance to see and touch some museum artifacts, play a few traditional Inuit games, and make their own clay sculpture. It should be a great time for kids, parents, and art lovers alike, so if you’re in the neighbourhood, come on by!

- Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

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