Heidi Bergstrom

Witty’s Lagoon, Metchosin, BC, Canada

I am a multimedia visual artist in Victoria, BC, Canada and I am very excited to be part of this collaborative as both an artist and a researcher. I first met Michele Hayeur Smith in the 80’s when we were both visual art students at York University in Ontario, Canada.  We bonded quickly while waiting for copper plates to etch in the acid baths in printmaking class because, as it turns out, we were both reading Viking Sagas.  She recognized the jacket of my Penguin copy of Njal’s Saga and I recall her saying something like “Bergstrom, what are you reading?” to which I blithely replied that she probably wouldn’t be interested. Fact is I was a bit self-conscious about it.  I flashed the cover and she just laughed and pulled out her own copy from her bag. This was a friendship meant to happen.  Michele’s fascination with art, culture, social change, mythologies, and of course Norse and northern cultures has continued to evolve, and we can all be thankful for that now in this new venture.

My fine art practice and exhibitions includes work in painting, printmaking, video and

Heidi Bergstrom in the studio 2016. Photograph by Miyoko Caubet

photography and multimedia installations. Besides achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours (1990) from York University, Ontario where I majored in studio arts and art history, I also studied visual arts full-time (and really learned to paint etc.) at the Toronto School of Art (1984-86). In 2000 did a Diploma in New Media (Internet Site Design, 3D Animation, and Multimedia Production) in Victoria, BC.    My artistic background and studies also includes dance (classical ballet) at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Professional Program with Goh Ballet in Vancouver, BC and contemporary studies with choreographer Constance Cooke in Victoria, BC.

I have worked in a professional capacity in the corporate, non-profit and charitable sectors and for the past eight years I have been with the Government of BC in the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services in a variety of Director roles.

I completed my M.A. in Political Science in 2019 at the University of Victoria, B.C. funded in part through Pacific Leaders, a BC Government scholarships program for public servants. My thesis, Between the Lines: locating critical theory at the intersection of trade and cultural policy in Canada, focuses on the intersection of Canada’s cultural policies and international trade disputes at the WTO and the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Expressions. My research interests are in Canadian and International politics especially as it pertains to art and culture.  For the Northern Women’s Art Collaborative I will be focusing on some of the political issues arising for artists, especially indigenous artists, crafts people and artisans who are most impacted by climate change and globalization.   I am also interested in contemporary artists’ response to these issues and will highlight and how their work provides insights and other avenues for research and thought.

In my studio in British Columbia I have launched an international artists’ residency and open my studio to artists and researchers to come to our beautiful place to work, contemplate, and collaborate. You can check out the blog posts from the first residency art the Studio H Canada WordPress.  I welcome you comments and thoughts.

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