Residency Relay The Right To Be Cold*

Black and white picture of a woman and animals in the snow
Photo (detail): © Susanne Hætta/BONO 2020
  • 01. March 2021 — 30. November 2022

  • Oslo (Norway); Montreal (Canada); Helsinki (Finland); Nowosibirsk (Russian Federation)

Climate change poses a fundamental challenge to living conditions in the North. How can it be dealt with? The “Right To Be Cold” promotes impulses on topics such as ecology and climate justice through residencies in arctic regions and combines Indigenous knowledge with art and culture.

The focus of the transdisciplinary cross-border project The Right To Be Cold lies on the so-called Arctic and Boreal region; implying issues concerning Indigenous knowledge, ecology, climate justice, and culture is central to the initiative and its main format is a residency chain in the circumpolar north. The overarching theme in all of this is climate change, which is fundamentally challenging and changing the northern living conditions. Established and emerging residency programs in Nunavik, Finland, Yakutia, Norway and Sápmi are forming a network to host artists and researchers within the frame of the project.
With the aim connect and develop an exchange between residency programs in the circumpolar north, every resident will experience two residencies, in two different locations, a total of two months altogether. There will be an overlap of two residents at each place, with the intent of sharing/ exchanging research and artistic practices with each other and in the respective local context.
We are reaching out to individuals from diverse disciplines and practices (i.e. artists, researchers, writers, curators, storytellers, artisans, filmmakers, cultural workers, architects, scientists) who are indigenous or have a strong knowledge of and relation to indigenous communities in the circumpolar north. The residents will be invited to do a public presentation of their practice to the local communities.
The project was initially planned to be performed in 2020, but due to Covid-19, the organizational team has decided to postpone the program until 2021. The exact date of the Residence Relay can still be changed due to this reason.

*The title of the project comes from the long battle of Inuit to have their rights linked to climate change. The book of the same name by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (2015, Allen Lane Publication), testifies of her pioneering work in connecting climate change to human rights with the Inuit legal petition she and 62 fellow Inuit from Canada and Alaska launched to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights in Washington DC in 2005. Inuit leaders and climate change activists use this expression to capture their struggle and hope for political leaders to realize their communities are being severely impacted by climate change. Although the Commission did not go ahead with the Inuit petition they did have a historical hearing on the legal impacts and connections between climate change and human rights. Okalik Eegeesiak, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) used the expression in her discourse at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21 December 3, 2015 in Paris, France: “Climate change is not just an environmental issue it is a human rights issue and the melting of the Arctic is impacting all aspects of Inuit life, therefore, the final text must make the rights of Indigenous peoples operative and keep it in Article 2.2. We have the right to be cold” argued Eegeesiak.