Trading Routes: Rivers, Fish, and Oil Creative Placemaking through Aesthetic Engagement


  • Kimberly Ann Baker University of British Columbia
  • Ruth Beer Emily Carr University of Art + Design


creative place making, aesthetic community engagement, environmental sustainability, visual culture, art education


This paper considers the important role of art in our lives and explores its potentiality within creative placemaking, breaking down barriers between contemporary art and historical spaces. We explore new possibilities for art and museum practice to creatively craft spaces for aesthetic engagement through the examination of the Trading Routes: Rivers, Fish, and Oil (TR) exhibition at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site (GOG), Steveston, British Columbia, Canada. We discuss the opportunities and challenges of presenting a contovercial contemporary art exhibition in a historical museum.  Exploring the ways the TR exhibition created an opportunity for creative placemaking to occur within a larger context of enhancing the reflections and experiences of individuals, as well as addressing quality of life within communities. 

Author Biographies

Kimberly Ann Baker, University of British Columbia


Kimberly Baker is a museum educator, researcher, scholar and  artist. She specializes in culturally responsive education (CRE) and collaborates with local and internationally organizations to create innovative exhibits, education and public programs. Kimberly leads the education and programs at the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.    She holds a MA in Art Education from the University of British Columbia (UBC), and a BA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). Currently, she is undertaking a PhD at UBC in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, Art Education. Her thesis entitled, Wayfinding Peace: Museums in Conflict Zones will illustrate the lessons that can be learnt from museums that provide a forum for active participation and dialogue about peace practices among indigenous cultures of Kenya and Canada.  Her aim is to encourage cultural understanding and peace through arts, heritage and culture education.

Ruth Beer, Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Ruth Beer is a Vancouver-based artist interested in interdisciplinary approaches to artistic practice. Her artwork that includes sculpture, video, photography and interactive projections has been shown in national and international exhibitions. She has been awarded several public art commissions and is a member of the RCA. She is the recipient of major federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada grants for research-creation projects. Recent artworks related to the "Trading Routes" project are intended to evoke cultural and geographic transitions through abstraction, representation and processes exploring materials, forms, colour and media. She is Professor of Visual Art and Assistant Dean of Research in the Faculty of Visual Art and Material Practice and the Audain School of Visual Art at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.


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Special Call - Creative Placemaking - 2016