Where is Fort McMurray?

Image by: Nathalia Riordon

I recently accompanied a friend (and fellow social researcher) Andriko Lozowy on a trip to Ft McMurray to help him set up an exhibition of photographic work – Where is Ft McMurray? – that he and his collaborators are presenting at Fort McMurray Public Library this month.

Opening at Fort McMurray Library: Photo Andriko Lozowy

Back in 2009, and as part of a larger University of Alberta social landscapes research project, Andriko had invited a wide range of Fort McMurray youth to respond to the question “Where is Fort McMurray?” through the practice of photography. Through the project students (from three different Fort McMurray High Schools) had the opportunity to learn the basics of digital photographic techniques and to create images that would work in relation or juxtaposition to the images that dominate when one performs an online search of the name Fort McMurray.

Image by: Jaslynn Houle

Where is Fort McMurray? refers to both the series of 21 images that make up the exhibition as well as the collaborative process of working together to create the images and curate the show.  As the blurb for the show states:

Where is Fort McMurray? aims to gain perspective of place and community from the vantage of youth in a local context. The research project asks two kinds of questions:

a) what are the variety of ways that youth understand and perceive Fort McMurray as a place;

and b) what are the challenges and benefits of using photography as a way for youth to explore and express their experience of place.”

Collaborators and Photographers

Amani Hachem
Aurooba Ahmed
Jaslynn Houle
Josiane Thibault
Milauni Desai
Nathalia Riordon
Paula Loutitt
Priscilla Gonzales
Sara Morrison
Veronica Laya
Yicuin Chen

Image by: Yicun Chen

To view the 21 images that make up the show go to the Where is Fort McMurray? flickr site.

Display decision. Photo: Andriko Lozowy

Displaying the photographs at the library at first proved a little tricky when the original easels that they were going to be mounted on were unavailable, but thankfully the actual architecture of the library provided an alternative in the form of the metal windowsills. Resting the photo-frames on the sills nicely echoed the geometry of the window frames and meant the photographs were subtly inserted into the ‘quiet space’ of the library and offered an alternative view out on to the surrounding Fort McMurray.

Taking a study break. Photo: Me

Opening night visitors peruse the show. Photo: Andriko Lozowy

Andriko Lozowy (University of Alberta), Rob Shields (University of Alberta) and Me at the show opening


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This entry was posted in art in place and the place of art, Creativity in the City, Cultural Cartography, Cultural Geography, Curation as Spatial Practice, Exhibitions, Experimental Geographies, Geographer-artists, Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Where is Fort McMurray?

  1. Pingback: Where is Fort McMurray – by Andriko Lozowy | Fort McMurray • Wood Buffalo • Unwrap the Research

  2. Pingback: Experimental Geography – Where is Fort McMurray | Unwrap the Research • Fort McMurray • Wood Buffalo

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