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Qaggiavuut Announces New All-Inuit Senior Leadership Team

Sep 18, 2020
by IAQ

Qaggiavuut Performing Arts Society has announced a new, all-Inuit Senior Leadership team, comprising Laakkukuk Williamson Bathory as Artistic Director, Ashley Kilabuk-Savard as Director of the Qaggiq School of the Performing Arts, Simeonie Kisa-Knickelbein as Qaggiq Hub Director, and Pitseolak Pfeifer as Interim Executive Director. This new team will be responsible for the development and leadership of the programming offered through the organization. 

Based in Iqaluit, NU, Qaggiavuut works to promote Inuit culture and language in the performing arts, offering artistic and economic opportunities for Nunavut performing artists as well as performing arts programming for Nunavut children and youth.

Beyond the introduction of new faces, this four-person team represents a new, consensus-based leadership model for the organization, which was previously helmed by just an Artistic Director and Executive Director.

These changes see poet, performer and storyteller Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory step back into her role as Artistic Director after several months’ break. As a multidisciplinary artist, she sees this role as a way to “encourage [her] fellow Inuit to see their own artistic practises as fluid, un-siloed and a source of self determination.”

She plans to make use of her skills as a performing artist in this leadership role, particularly the values, strength and confidence afforded to her through her dedicated practice of uaajeerneq, Greenlandic mask dancing. 

Filling the other existing role is Pitseolak Pfeifer, who will be interim Executive Director. Coming from an extensive public policy background, Pfeifer plans to use that experience to “strengthen, promote, advocate, and create space for Nunavut performing artists with a focus on Inuit.”

At Qaggiq, the performing arts education branch of Qaggiavuut, Simeonie Kisa-Knickelbein takes over the role of Hub Director. He plans to use knowledge gathered from every corner of his background in the performing arts—from his time acting at the Nunavut Sivunutsavut Program and on the TV show Outlander, to his directorial work on upcoming film Slash/Back—to inform his leadership within the Qaggiq School. “Connections [to people in the arts] are something that I cherish,” explains Kisa-Knickelbein, “and something I want to continue to build.”

The fourth member of this new team, Ashley Kilabuk-Savard, will take on the newly created role of Director at the Qaggiq School of the Performing Arts. A jeweler and filmmaker, Kilabuk-Savard plans to make forming community connections the core of her upcoming work with students from across Inuit Nunangat, using those connections to pass on traditional skills and knowledge. 

Speaking on the future possibilities for Qaggiavuut and Nunavut’s performing arts landscape more broadly, Kilabuk-Savard concludes, “it's inspiring to dream of our future and the spaces we can and will create for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”


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