Raising money for my Jenny Gilbertson in the Arctic fieldwork


I am planning to set off for in late June for my six months of fieldwork in the Arctic.

Following in Jenny Gilbertson’s footsteps, I will head to Grise Fiord, the settlement she filmed from 1977-178.  After a month of intensive Inuktitut lessons (kindly funded by SGSAH) and building relationships, I will hear the experiences of those Gilbertson lived and filmed with. Alongside this I will make a film that visually explores the dynamics between the filmmaker and those being filmed as they go about daily life in Grise Fiord 40 years after Gilbertson. A lot has changed in that time: socially, culturally, politically, environmentally.

Travelling to and around the Arctic is unbelievably expensive as it the cost of living. To date £10,000 has been secured from SGSAH, D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd (my first employer) and the film supper fundraising event in Bigton in Shetland (where I grew up). I have applied to a number of other sources for grants but to supplement but meantime I have set up a crowd-funding campaign.

The target is £10,000. These funds will help me cover the costs of my accommodation in Grise Fiord. They will allow me to pay young people in the settlement to operate and carry my equipment. They will allow me to contribute to the costs of those I accompany on the hunt for food (if you want to understand what it costs the Inuit to hunt for food watch Angry Inuk (2016) by Alethea Aranquq-Baril). And they will help me to feed myself and others. Food is the Arctic is scarce and alarmingly expensive (£28 for a cabbage, £64 for a chicken, £10 for a small bag of rice). I will of course eat the food they share with me and support the Grise Fiord Co-op but I have been advised to send supplies ahead: enough for me and extra for feeding the people I am filming with. Feeding folk is very much the Gilbertson way.

Very importantly, I hope to raise enough to let me to travel to Whale Cove to meet the family originally from Coral Harbour who helped Jenny make her early Arctic films. Other voices from a different place will make for a more balanced representation of Gilbertson’s time in the Arctic.

I crowd-funded for Clavel (2014) and while I was successful and people were so generous (including people I had never met), I felt very uneasy about my friends feeling there was any expectation on them to contribute. There isn’t. The other riches they bring to my life are of much greater value and will undoubtedly be the thing – albeit in electronic format – that gets me through 6 months in the Arctic.

Thank you to those who have already contributed. This is very gladdening and fires me forward.


Note: thank you, Alan Richardson for taking this photograph. I love how you have put me in the picture with Jenny Gilbertson.

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