Spring is almost here. Tony Eetak captured this beautiful photo yesterday near Arviat, Nunavut. This week the team has been discussing the use of AI for data literacy.
Spring is almost here. Tony Eetak captured this beautiful photo yesterday near Arviat, Nunavut. This week the team has been discussing the use of AI for data literacy.

Digital Greenhouse program leads to new Chamber of Commerce platform

Youth, Artists and Volunteers from the Canada Council for the Arts-funded Digital Greenhouse program applied their skills to rejuvenating online presence for Kivalliq and Manitoba Arts and Culture​ programming.

As a volunteer-driven, grassroots arts entrepreneurship collective, @1860, has been proud to lend its support to the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce and member organizations and businesses like Niriqatiginnga and the Arctic Buying Company Kivalliq in developing a new online marketplace and rejuvenated capacity using digital tools. 

Just one year after the completion of their first pilot incubator project, @1860, the team has been continuing its work, developing a whole new presence for the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce. The new Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce web site is an outcome of digital skills development and cultural entrepreneurship training made possible with the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Greenhouse.

Tony Eetak, Hon. Dan Vandal, Constance Menzies and Jamie Bell took in the sights and sounds outside Chocolatier Constance Popp during the start of this year’s Canada Day long weekend in Historic St. Boniface.

The program launched as a pilot program in 2021 and 2022. A flood in June 2022 almost wiped out their program. But they kept going. Building on the success of their small pilot program, youth and artists came together to establish their next project: Niriqatiginnga, which means come eat with me in Inuktitut. The work continued into 2023 with support from the Manitoba Arts Council.

In 2023, the Winnipeg-based Niriqatiginnga project was approved for funding from the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership – Indigenous Food Systems Program. In total, proposals submitted by the team drew in an additional $293,000 in combined federal and provincial funding. In January 2024, The Niriqatiginnga project established itself as an independent, Manitoba-based non-profit organization. 

Until late March 2024, the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce web sites, social media and  communications had mostly been limited to a one-page web site and stagnant for years. It was a really depressing experience to visit their web site, and they did not even have a news page. There were no programs or services for members either, just an acknowledgement that “at present, KCC’s ability to deliver additional value to its members, and its impact upon the Kivalliq Region and Nunavut are limited by its available resources.”

The arts incubator project team volunteered hundreds of hours over the last few months to help the Chamber to upgrade and modernize, especially with major events like the 2024 Northern Perspectives Conference and the Kivalliq Energy Forum just around the corner. The new platform will considerably assist in communicating opportunities for the arts and culture sector, a pressing issue given the loss of larger advocacy groups like the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association and Nunavut Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s situation was perfectly aligned with what Niriqatiginnga needed to pilot its planned Online Marketplace. It also provided emerging Inuit artists and culture sector workers a terrific opportunity to combine marketplace development with additional training and skills applied through previous researchcultural and digital arts entrepreneurship projects. Upcoming activities in 2024 will build directly on the digital arts training and professional development funded by the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Greenhouse in late 2021 and 2022 and by the Manitoba Arts Council Indigenous 360 Program in 2022 and 2023. The team was recently asked to submit a Supplemental Report following up on its outcomes, and this new web site is one of them.

Also aligning with other main objectives for Niriqatiginnga’s first phase is to explore piloting an online marketplace alongside their ‘living lab’ for Indigenous food sector entrepreneurship. As a pilot program, this new Manitoba-Kivalliq arts and culture marketplace will be able to sell not just food products, but arts, crafts and maybe even furs from hunters and harvesters too!

As it grows into a locally and regionally-focused platform, is supports real-world, early career development for digital arts and technology skills development, cross-sectoral relationship building and participatory organizational development. And, even better, this new online marketplace will be able to support additional activities like conference registration, corporate sponsorships, exhibition booth rentals and payment processing too. 

We also acknowledge an outcome of our Digital Greenhouse pilot project, the incredible support from the Manitoba Sustainable Agricultural Partnership – Indigenous Agriculture and Foods Program, the Arctic Buying Company Kivalliq and Manitoba Agriculture. Our pilot project made it able to apply what we learned through our online marketplace development, skills and training to real world work environments. As an outcome of the relationship development and engagement components of “Niriqatiginnga: Towards a Framework for Northern Food Systems Innovation” this new web site will help organizations like the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce to transform and rejuvenate the way they engage communities and the business sector. 

Visit the new Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce web site and check out the team’s great work!

Picture of @1860 Winnipeg Arts

@1860 Winnipeg Arts

@1860 Winnipeg Arts is a small, community-driven arts entrepreneurship and cultural entrepreneurship program in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Our program began with a pilot program aimed at building organizational capacity for digital arts administration, skills development and training. It is supported by the non-profit organization Niriqatiginnga.

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