Students to lay down framework for first-ever performing arts centre in Nunavut
From a sunny day in an East York classroom to a cold night under the northern lights, the opportunities to learn new things never cease at Centennial College.
This February, five students from Centennial College’s Arts Management and Business Management programs will be making history by hitting the milestones for their Storyworks credit in a week-long trip to Iqaluit, Nunavut. As part of the Services and Global Experience (SaGE) program at Centennial College, students will be taking part in an Applied Research Abroad Program (ARAP) in Nunavut, Canada where they will partner with the Qaggiavuut organization to establish a Qaggiq: a professional Inuit Performing Arts & Cultural Learning Hub.
After weeks of research for experiential learning opportunities that would pull students out of the classroom and into the world to practice their skills, Rebecca Peirson, acting chair and program coordinator of the arts management program at Centennial’s Story Arts Centre connected with SaGE about the opportunity to work with a performing arts centre in Canada’s remote north. She then worked with the Qaggiavuut organization to gain a better understanding of the arts community in Iqaluit and its needs and is now in the process of interviewing students for the trip.
After a rigorous selection process based on GPA, a letter of interest and an interview with faculty, students will be selected to receive a cost-covered trip for seven-days to the capital city of Nunavut to help establish the framework for a performing arts centre based on real data from a professional feasibility report. Seeing as Iqaluit is the only capital city in all of North America that is currently missing this cultural hub, it will be a historical venture for the students as well as the country. Students will produce a scope of work, research and a presentation and be graded on that all within the timeframe of the trip. They will also have the opportunity to meet with local stakeholders such as the Nunavut Film Society to develop a better understanding of the environment and culture within which the centre will function.
In speaking with Rebecca about this unique opportunity for Centennial students, she said: “I think the reason why this is precedent-setting, besides the fact that it’s something that Centennial really supports i.e. indigenizing the college, is that this is the start to a relationship that we can have with this organization, and perhaps a few more up there.”
This trip rings true to Centennial’s motto of ‘See where experience takes you,’ as it is encouraging students from different faculties who have never met each other before to work together on an intense project in a new setting – much similar to what they will experience as they move into the workforce after graduating. “That kind of collaboration where you don’t have a lot of preamble; you're not a working group already – that’s real life,” said Rebecca. This reflects Centennial’s mission to provide students with the most valuable learning experience possible.
Until then, we let them leave their desks and chairs behind, travel to the tundra, and lay under a blanket of stars hidden behind the aurora borealis.
By Mubashira Nusrat Farooqi, Public Relations and Corporate Communications Student