Trading Routes: Grease Trails, Oil Futures is a publicly-engaged, trans-disciplinary art and research project undertaken in the midst of a liminal moment in Canadian history. In the pursuit of the nation’s place among world energy superpowers, debates have emerged about the benefits and social and environmental risks associated with rapid changes brought about from investment in fossil fuel industries. Trading Routes, seeks to contribute to this discourse by engaging with the interlaced terrain of traditional Indigenous trading routes and an ever-expanding network of oil and gas pipelines throughout British Columbia. How do Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, storytellers, and teachers enter into dialogue on and around this contested geography? How does direct experience of land mitigate understandings of self, wealth, or energy security? Trading Routes serves as a point of convergence for a timely dialogue about regional, national, and global futures. The project comprises art practice, public engagement and publication.

Institutional Partners

Emily Carr University of Art + Design
University of British Columbia
UBC Museum of Anthropology

Project Team

Principal Investigator: Ruth Beer (ECUAD).
Co-Investigators: Kit Grauer (UBC) and Glen Lowry (ECUAD).
Collaborators: Jill Baird (UBC Museum of Anthropology), Sadira Rodrigues (ECUAD), Imre Szeman (University of Alberta), Jonathan Dewar (Algoma University).

Faculty Research Contributors: Woonam Kim (ECUAD), Katherine Gillieson (ECUAD).

Graduate and Undergraduate Research Contributors: Emma Canning, Caitlin Chaisson, Natalie LeBlanc, Kimberly Baker, Jennifer Dickieson, Pascale Théoret-Groulx, T.J. McLachlan, Gabrielle Solti, Soledad Munoz, Michelle O’Byrne, Mia Van Veen, Neil Manchan, Milene Vallin, Ingrid Olauson, Nana Yuen, and Zoe Hardisty.

We are grateful for the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Insight Grant for Research and Creation.