Noémie Fortin is an emerging curator and writer (Inter Art Actuel, EX_SITU, Vie des Arts) enrolled in the MA program in Art History at Concordia University. She lives and work in the Eastern Townships (QC), originally coming from Lac-Mégantic and currently established in Sherbrooke. Her research considers urban and rural futures in relation to art and cultural institutions, along with ecological concerns and community engagement.
On July 6, 2013, a deadly train derailment and ensuing explosions decimated the small town of Lac-Mégantic and caused a spill of millions of litres of crude oil in the environment. This human and ecological disaster turned the downtown and waterfront area into an oil-soaked wasteland for several years, leading to the loss of the community’s landmarks. While this event and its aftermaths firstly impacted Noémie on a personal level, it also sparked a particular interest for the role of the arts and creative placemaking in shaping the natural and built environment, particularly in situations where they inspire resilience to people inhabiting precarious territories (i.e. remote islands, isolated northern territories and post-disaster landscapes).
Noémie’s thesis is motivated by her connection with Lac-Mégantic and her keen interest in the potential of art and cultural institutions to intervene directly in larger questions of landscape and collective stewardship in the wake of environmental crisis and change. She considers the extent to which they can participate in (re)shaping specific geographical and social landscapes. To better understand how art and cultural institutions could address the recent ecological disaster in her hometown, Noémie’s principal research question investigates the intersections between art, environment, and community when asking how other small-scale, deeply-rooted cultural institutions and projects have grappled with themes of landscape, ecology, and community. While this project entails research methods based in theory rather than research-creation, Noémie plans to benefit from the support of the IUF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program to explore a more creative approach and community-based research in various urban and rural settings.