The Northern Woman’s Art Collaborative (NWAC) was created by artist and social science researcher Michele Hayeur Smith to link academic social science research about traditional women’s work, such as textiles, clothing or cloth production in the North, both in the past and present, with contemporary artists and artisans who use these themes and explore them through various artistic media. Through this project Hayeur Smith is engaging artists and researchers from around the world to collaborate.
We anticipate that this project (NWAC) will address many different circumpolar cultural realms: the Norse in the North Atlantic, the Inuit of Greenland and Northern Canada, the Inupiat from Alaska, the Saami and any other cultural group from the circumpolar region. We hope to draw attention to the Arctic which is undergoing rapid cultural, economic and environmental change; we hope to preserve and to inform on traditional female roles and beliefs associated with clothing production, textiles production, the treatment and making of skin garments, or decorative embellishments etc. in the past.
These crafts are rapidly disappearing with globalization and industrialization and the once valued roles of women as makers, is being lost. In traditional settings, these tasks often gave women a certain social standing, respect, power and a central role in the survival of their communities in this harsh Arctic environment. Thus, through this project we hope to explore how women were valued and respected in the past, how some of this respect can be brought to life again through the arts and also bring awareness to the circumpolar region that will play a crucial role in our planet’s future. All media are accepted, textiles, metalwork, painting, performing arts, music, etc.
How to get involved:
If you are a social scientist or scientist working on any of the themes listed above in the Arctic or the Circumpolar region and would like to share your scientific knowledge with artists or if you are an artist and are interested in this region and topics resulting from social science research and would like to explore them further through your art, then join our team and website.
Some topics and themes we have been exploring: 1. The creation of vaðmál (also known as cloth currency in medieval Iceland); 2. Textiles and textile production in the Norse mythological world; 3. Explorations into the traditional Norse weaving huts Dyngja, and the semi subterranean traditional Igloos of the Alaskan Inupiat and their connections to the female world; Traditional Inuit clothing production.
How to use this site:
Click on the links to see who is participating and if you wish to join, contact Michele Hayeur Smith.
Contact information: Please leave a message and personal information below.