Our mission is to work alongside rural, remote, Indigenous and other communities, to support the development of STEAM skills through innovative technology, art and play.
Our name, Pinnguaq, reflects our beginnings over a decade ago as a non-Inuit founded organization in Nunavut that aimed to provide Nunavummiut youth access to technology through games. Although we now operate from coast to coast to coast, the essence of our organization, “Pinnguaq” (Inuktitut for “Play”) is at the heart of all we do. In 2022, we will be announcing a new organizational name to represent the greater breadth of our regional partnerships and celebrate our 10th anniversary!
Our highly diverse team and board of directors prioritizes working with rural, remote, Indigenous and other communities underrepresented in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Driven by deeply held values of equity and inclusion for STEAM learning, we participate in the Federal Government’s 50/30 Challenge, with 50% of our team identifying as women. Our staff bring a variety of lived experiences including First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, 2SLGBTQIA+ people and women, Black and People of Colour, people living with disabilities, and youth.
Powered by STEAM
STEAM learning opens doors to new possibilities. From understanding how online games are designed to coding mobile apps, from expressing culture through digital art to addressing digital inequity in communities, STEAM inspires knowledge sharing, playfulness, employment opportunities, and well-being.
We have seen and demonstrated how STEAM learning interconnects with land-based teachings and cultural storytelling to promote community-led innovations and sustainability. We are committed to working collaboratively with others to bridge the digital gap, including:
- Offering free in-person and remote digital skills workshops, camps, and online programs for learners of all ages
- Creating welcoming Makerspaces to learn, make, and discover
- Assembling and distributing STEAM kits and education modules to provide hands-on learning in remote communities
- Publishing Root & STEM magazine and podcast to spotlight diverse voices in STEAM innovation and education
- Developing opportunities for employment and job-related mentoring, and providing access to the digital tools enabling career advancement
Founded in 2012 in Pangnirtung, Nunavut with a focus on bringing technological experiences to Nunavummiut (residents of Nunavut), our organization grew to become Pinnguaq Association (Inuktitut for play). We broadened that focus nationally to provide STEAM experiences in learning and development for diverse communities across Canada.
- In 2013, we led the localization of the video game Osmos into Inuktitut, crowdsourcing over 300 strings of text with members of the community. It was the first of several successful industry/community partnerships that translated popular games into Inuktitut.
- At the end of 2013, we launched our first app, Singuistics, encouraging an exploration of traditional songs from the Inuktitut, Gwich’in, Anishinaabemowin, Cree, and Chipewyan languages.
- We ran our first te(a)ch session outside of Pangnirtung, Nunavut in February 2015. In partnership with Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre and Aqquimarvik we visited and ran programming in Arviat, Nunavut.
- In 2016, we received a kickstart to our te(a)ch program by receiving the Arctic Inspiration Prize allowing us to expand te(a)ch to Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet and Iqaluit immediately.
- In 2017, we were named Best Social Enterprise North and Best Social Enterprise Canada Wide at the 2017 Startup Canada Awards.
- Our Iqaluit Makerspace opened in September 2018, creating a play that encourages the intersection of STEAM, language, and culture. Less than a year later, we moved to a larger space that allowed for an increase in programming and maker resources.
- We are a founding partner of the Katinnganiq Makerspace Network, which won the $10 Million Dollar Smart Cities Challenge in 2019 on behalf of Nunavut Communities.
- Our Lindsay, Ontario Makerspace and office opened its doors in 2019, providing a community space for people to explore, make, create, think, play, share, learn, unlearn, hack, and discuss in Kawartha Lakes.
- We were named the best Non-Profit, Arts Programming, Learning Centre, Camps in the Kawartha Lakes This Week 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.
- The first issue of our Root & STEM magazine was published in Spring 2020, offering a unique look at diverse voices and stories in STEAM education & innovation. The magazine would later be complemented by our Root & STEM Podcast, furthering our ability to tell unique STEAM stories.
- Root & STEM was named a finalist for two 2021 National Magazine Awards: the Issue Grand Prix for our inaugural issue, and the One of a Kind Storytelling Award for Our Grandpa’s Story: Pierre Washie by Richard Van Camp & Kyle Charles in our second issue.
Get to know us! Our team works in communities across Ontario, Nunavut, Quebec, and British Columbia.
Embrace Life Council
Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre
Code Club World
Curve Lake Cultural Centre
Many Hats Studios and 56K Games
Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage
The Raspberry Pi Foundation
John & Brenda Romero
Canada Learning Code
Make Stuff Move
Kids Code Jeunesse
Kawartha Art Gallery
Kawartha Lakes Library
The Nunavut Literacy Council / Ilitaqsiniq
A&B Suluk Translations
Treaty 4 E-Sports
Lindsay & District Chamber of Commerce
City of Kawartha Lakes Boys and Girls Club
Kativik Regional Government
The Nunavut Arctic College
Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq / Kitikmeot Heritage Society