Upstream/Downriver: Walking the stɑl̓əw̓ Watershed

A collaborative research-creation project that addresses climate change at the local scale of the lower Fraser River watershed has resulted in an exhibition titled Upstream/Downriver: Walking the stɑl̓əw̓ Watershed. This new display takes audiences on a journey of walking, listening, and learning.

Artists walked with experts from a wide range of backgrounds–Indigenous knowledge holders, scientists, philosophers and poets–inviting their observations on climate impacts along the lower Fraser Valley watershed. Artists Alysha Creighton, Erica Grimm, and Joshua Hale have combined video, sound, and drawing, and in collaboration with Tracie Stewart, created an installation that connects viewers with the realities of climate impacts in our region. Their works also give voice to the river, pointing the way to how we may reimagine our relationship with the land and learn to walk in a good way on this territory we call home.

Commonly referred to as the Fraser River, stɑl̓əw̓ is the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word for “big river.” The artists and Project Siyá:m Patricia Victor walked and listened to experts about the stɑl̓əw̓ and how climate change is affecting the region, including Sesmelot (Fern Gabriel), Kwantlen Language Keeper, Andrew Victor, Chief of Xwchíyò:m Nation, and Annelyn Victor, Xwchíyò:m YouthTheir voices joined with other experts in the areas of geology, biology, math, poetry, urban geography and philosophy, including Heesoon Bai, Katharine Bubel, David Clements, Tim Cooper, David Jordan, Maxwell Ofosuhene, Sam Pimentel, and Bruce Shelvey to create a soundscape for the exhibition experience.  The sounds of the river are carefully blended with their words. 


Upstream/Downriver: Walking the stɑl̓əw̓ Watershed is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Additional Information


Feb 17, 2022 - May 24, 2022


Charlene Garvey with Alysha Creighton, Erica Grimm, and Joshua Hale