Someone using the SmartIce console.

Arctic Inspiration Prize Laureates Collaborate for Innovation and Sustainability

October 7, 2021

As daylight shortens along the coastlines of Nunavut, Arctic Inspiration Prize laureates SmartICE, Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council, and Pinnguaq Association are preparing for another season of community-based skills building. For these organizations, their partnership has provided the opportunity to support each other’s mandates and commit together to building capacity with community members, in community. 

Increasing access to digital skills and literacy has been an ongoing goal. This summer, Ilitaqsiniq and Pinnguaq launched Iqalliarluk – an Inuktitut Typing Game, created new stories and songs in the Uqalimaarluk app, and launched a new digital game to promote Inuktitut literacy. Together with SmartICE, the organizations are committed to supporting Inuit in building their skills in literacy and navigating digital spaces towards community-based well-being, by helping make connections between the land and technology. 

Last year, the three AIP laureates received project partnership funding through Canada’s Ocean Supercluster to develop technical skills training for Inuit participants across Inuit Nunangat called the Inclusive Workforce for Arctic Ocean Technology Project. This holistic, culturally contextualized technical training promotes inclusion for Inuit in the ocean economy and ecosystem. During the 2020 ice season, SmartICE welcomed Inuit from 17 communities to their training program to operate SmartICE equipment and services. They are planning to offer programming to an additional seven communities this year. 

“Ilitaqsiniq is proud to be a partner within a project that brings together various AIP laureates,” says Adriana Kusugak, Executive Director of Ilitaqsiniq. “The meaningful work that will happen within this project combines Inuit innovation, knowledge and traditional skills with scientific research to better understand and become aware of the impacts of climate change and global warming on Arctic sea ice. This project will provide the opportunity for Elders, youth, community members and researchers to work together with technology to enhance knowledge exchange and safety awareness.” 

“The real celebration here is about AIP laureates coming together,” says Carolann Harding, Executive Director of SmartICE. “This is when pure magic takes place. The benefit of like-minded organizations working together means exponential investment and engagement with communities, resulting in enhanced sustainability. We are grateful for such wonderful relationships.”

Partnering with award-winning AIP laureates, means investing in the broader wellbeing and sustainability of Nunavummiut across the territory and the Arctic.  The latest call for the Arctic Inspiration Prize 2021 is open until October 13, 2021. 

“The opportunity to innovate and grow our organization beside, and with, these other laureates has been life changing,” says Ryan Oliver, CEO of Pinnguaq Association. “We have witnessed the possibilities for communities across Nunavut to challenge climate change directly, through a combination of traditional and technological approaches, creating safer and more sustainable environments for their families.”

For more information, contact:

Carolann Harding
Executive Director, SmartICE Sea Ice Monitoring & Information Inc.  

Lisa Clarke
Director of Strategic Communications, Pinnguaq Association

Adriana Kusugak
Executive Director, Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council