Research team looks to boost services for Inuit in Winnipeg

Project could help Nunavummiut who travel south for health, education services

Children’s writer Michael Kusugak, middle, speaks during a brainstorming meeting for the Inuit Youth Photovoice Project in June. (Photo courtesy of Carly Zulich)

By Meral Jamal

University of Manitoba researchers want young, urban Inuit living in Winnipeg to share their experiences with cultural identity and mental health through photos.

The goal is to better understand the experiences of Inuit youth living in the city — what programs and services are available to them, what’s working, and the challenges they’re facing, said Carly Zulich, a team member and medical student at the University of Manitoba.

“Inuit and people in Nunavut often have to travel to Winnipeg for their medical [and education] services, so they come to Manitoba quite a bit,” Zulich said.

“The Inuit population in Manitoba is growing, which is why we wanted to better understand the Inuit lived experiences and perspectives and culture [in the province].”

The team of five, led by health researcher Adriana Mudryj, is hosting the Inuit Youth Photovoice Project in collaboration with the Manitoba Inuit Association.

It consists of workshops which will be held at the Aabijijiwan Media Lab and Kishaadigeh Collaborative Research Centre at the University of Winnipeg on July 22, 23 and 29.

Inuit youth participants will have the opportunity to use their smartphones and basic cameras to document what identity means to them, how it differs when they’re in their home communities compared to when they’re in urban centres, and what kind of services and support they have received for their mental health in Manitoba.

Zulich said the researchers are working with two young Inuit who have been hired as part of the team. The pair spent two days in June with Inuit, including children’s writer Michael Kusugak, to brainstorm how the workshops will take place.

The final plan involves participants being divided into smaller groups who will begin by recognizing and mapping locations in Winnipeg they would like to photograph during the workshops.

On July 23, they will go out to take photos at these locations, and on July 29 they will spend time writing captions that reflect why they shot the photos in those specific parts of Winnipeg.

Zulich said the photos will be shared online and later at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The hope is that it will help guide improved support and services for Inuit youth in Manitoba.

“We’re trying to really find out what services are available locally to Inuit youth, what are their challenges and where they’re struggling, and how we can develop services that will help them and support them,” Zulich said.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Frank Trster on

    Fabulous. Used photovoice in work by marginally housed youth in Vancouver to communicate the feelings about and implications of being marginally housed for their lives and emotional well-being. Great method and approach. Congrats.

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