Chris Black, Stem outreach coordinator at the Aurora Research Institute, at a Dene Nation Youth Gathering in March 2023 at Makerspace. Photo: Supplied
Makerspace YK will host a youth convention from May 11-14 that explores the likes of video game design, Indigenous storytelling, music production and healthcare.
Youth in Steam builds on the “stem” of science, technology, engineering and math by adding art. Convention organizer Chelsea Dubiel said the A introduces a broader range of opportunities.
“It really allows us to hone in and become a little bit more connected to whatever we’re designing, building or developing,” Dubiel told Cabin Radio.
“We can really focus on the importance of art and how, in reality, art can communicate so much more than words.”
The convention aims to show how art can be combined with technical disciplines. Four days of workshops will follow themes of health and wellness; food, energy, and our relationship with the environment; infrastructure; and culture.
At the end of the workshops, participants will create a video game that answers a question related to those themes. A mural design incorporating video game graphics will communicate how they see their future in the North.
Dubiel said Cassandra Blondin Burt will work as a consultant during the convention to further Makerspace’s commitment to decolonization in these disciplines.
“When we’re talking about decolonization, it means everyone, and approaching from a two-eyed lens has to come from and by the people of these lands,” said Dubiel.
“We’ll also have a variety of BIPOC organizations coming out to lead a lot of the programming, and it’s just really important to know that everyone is welcome in this space.”
Some programming will be led by Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace, or AbTec, a group that promotes Indigenous digital innovation. Dubiel said AbTec will guide youth through video game design and photo editing software.
Dubiel hopes the convention proves interactive and helps young people “conceptualize what the outlook of tomorrow looks like” in the North.
“We’re really going to be focusing on that northern aspect through Indigenous storytelling and different lenses that exist in the North,” they said.
The convention, which is open to youth aged 14 to 25, is also seeking volunteers aged 25 and older. Youth wanting to participate and people interested in volunteering can apply on the Makerspace website.