Norman Vorano

Study program:
Art History and Art Conservation, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Current affiliation:
Queen's University

Professor Norman Vorano will create the Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network, a single, culturally-appropriate web-based portal enabling Northerners to share cultural knowledge and empower their communities by accessing Arctic cultural heritage collections scattered in museums around the world.

Foundation Project: Arctic cultural heritage research network

Project objectives: This project partners with Nunavummiut and museums to develop digital technologies that will share Arctic heritage resources and Inuit cultural knowledge, to build and empower Northern communities. It will include:

1. Advisory committee and meetings in Nunavut to oversee the development of an Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network (ACHRN) linking museums and Northern heritage centres.
2. Create the digital infrastructure linking North Baffin communities with the Canadian Museum of History, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and Queen’s University.
3. ACHRN Phase 1: focusing around a collection of 1,840 Inuit drawings created in 1964 documenting document oral history, folktales, hunting practices, and scenes of everyday life.
4. ACHRN Phase 2: explore the integration of other Arctic collections (art, archaeology, anthropology) from museums in Canada and around the world, and expanding network into more Northern communities.

Read the full project

Dr. Norman Vorano is a scholar and curator who publishes widely in historical and contemporary North American Indigenous arts. Currently, he is the Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Art and Visual Culture in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation, and cross appointed to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (AEAC) at Queen’s University. From 2005 to 2014, he was the Curator of Contemporary Inuit Art at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau. He received his PhD from the University of Rochester’s Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and his MA and BFA from York University.

Vorano has sought to make research on museums, history, and culture accessible through exhibitions and web-based initiatives. He is particularly interested in questions around Indigenous modernism(s), traditional knowledge embodied in art and material culture, and museums as sites of contact and identity. In 2017, his exhibition Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings From 1964 opened at the AEAC, and is slated to travel across Canada and in Nunavut between 2018 and 2019. Exploring the impact of modernity in the Arctic, the exhibition uses online interviews with Nunavummiut to present and interpret historical Inuit drawings from the collection of the Canadian Museum of History. His 2011 catalogue and exhibition, Inuit Prints, Japanese Inspiration: Early Printmaking in the Canadian Arctic traced the global influences of mid-twentieth century printmaking in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Since 2011, Vorano has been a research partner in a comparative project that explores Indigenous modernisms from around the globe, Multiple Modernisms: Twentieth Century Artistic Modernisms in Global Perspective.