Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the UBC Museum of Anthropology. This one-day public symposium at MOA focuses on the opportunities and consequences of language documentation for local communities and outsiders, exploring how such documentation is used by speakers to communicate identity, sovereignty, and contemporary representations of community. Are creative and artistic explorations of language documentation at odds with the goal of revitalization, or do they open up new possibilities for understanding the complex social and historical territory of ongoing colonial relationships? As the multi-sensory installation Anspayaxw opens at MOA’s Satellite Gallery downtown, this symposium features artist John Wynne, Gitxsan participants Louise Wilson and Barbara Harris, and linguist Tyler Peterson who will discuss with scholars, artists, and activists to examine language endangerment, ethnography and documentation in the digital age, and artistic practice.

About the Speakers

John Wynne is an award-winning sound artist whose work includes site-specific installations, ‘composed documentaries’ for radio, projects with speakers of endangered languages and a body of work with heart and lung transplant recipients. He has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London and is a Reader in Sound Arts at the University of the Arts London.

Louise Wilson  Atdi anlakthl wa’ay, Anspayaxw wil sa’witx’wi.  Wilps Luushl wil xsilag’y, Lax Gibuu dihl Galdo’oo.  My name is Antdi anlakt, I am from Anspayxw.  I am from the House of Luus, Wolf clan from Galdo’oo.

Barbara Harris is a Gitksan elder from Kispiox, BC. Over the past decade she has dedicated considerable time and effort to Gitksan language maintenance and revitalization. She also works closely with linguists at the UBC department of linguistics, and has made substantial contributions to deepening our understanding of the finer points of the Gitksan language. She is one of 6 Gitxsan speakers featured in John Wynne’s Anspyaxw installation.

Tyler Peterson is a linguist and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona who works on Gitksan. His research interests focus on how understudied languages such as Gitksan can enrich our empirical and theoretical understanding of how meaning is embodied by language. This work is balanced with a strong interest in endangered language documentation, maintenance and revitalization.

Select Articles Available at UBC Library

Peterson, T. (2003). Minimality and syllabification in kabardian. Papers from the Regional Meetings, Chicago Linguistic Society, 39(1), 215-235. [Link]

Peterson, T. (2006). Issues of morphological ergativity in the tsimshian languages: Agreement, determiners and the reconstruction of case, pp. 65-90. [Link]

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