Kareena Coelho: Frozen Screens. Exploring Internet in Nunavut, Canada

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Kareena Coelho. It will be held on Wednesday, April 12, 10.15-12.00, in The Open Studio on the fifth floor of Niagara (Room NIC 0541).

The title of the talk is: 

Frozen Screens: Exploring Internet in Nunavut, Canada


This presentation provides an introduction to my doctoral research on internet in Nunavut, a territory in the Canadian Arctic that is primarily populated by the Inuit, an indigenous group. Internet in Nunavut is often described as failing, as “slow, unreliable and expensive.” My research explores the role of the Canadian federal government in creating these issues, while also being attentive to the ways that Nunavummiut communities negotiate with and around this internet, making it useful to their lives. This approach is influenced by scholars such as Giddens (1984) and de Certeau (1984), who probe the interactions between power and agency, as well as Brian Larkin (2008), who emphasizes approaching media as culturally situated and specific.

I will focus on three threads from my research: exploring the Canadian government’s problematic approach to internet funding and policy-making;  investigating the ways Nunavummiut communities employ persisting media such as television, the radio and the postal service, to facilitate their usage of internet or to circumvent it; and examining community access sites in Nunavut, which as spaces of both policy and community, exemplify the politics of Nunavummiut internet while also showcasing the inventiveness of Nunavummiut, who use these spaces and their technologies for cultural purposes and projects.

The evidence presented will suggest that internet in Nunavut emerges from, and is implicated within, processes and interactions between power and local communities, between policy and usage; that widely held definitions of internet should be complicated; and that linear, progressive understandings of technological development should be countered with insights provided by a focus on technologies-in-use (Edgerton 2007).

Kareena Coelho is a doctoral student in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She holds a Masters of Arts from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto. Her research has been published in the Journal of New Media and Culture, with forthcoming publications in Inuit Studies and the Canadian Journal of Communication.

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