Dr Nancy Wachowich

Dr Nancy Wachowich
Dr Nancy Wachowich
Dr Nancy Wachowich


Senior Lecturer

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 273203
Office Address

G03, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, AB243QY

School of Social Science


I am a social anthropologist working at the University of Aberdeen since 2001. My ethnographic research is located mostly in the Canadian High Arctic and draws on fields of historical anthropology, visual anthropology, oral histories, museums and material culture and more recently the anthropology of food. I have written on the history of colonialism, the interplay between western and indigenous knowledge systems, historiography, Inuit media, and on the construction and invocation of traditions. My first book (worked on before and during my PhD) was part of a collaboration with Apphia Agalakti Awa, Rhoda Kaukjak Katsak and Sandra Pikujaq Katsak. Entitled Saqiyuq: Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women (McGill Queens University Press,1999) it documented Inuit colonial history through the autobiographical stories of three generations from the same family. I continue have an interest in colonial historiography, autobiography, collaborative methodologies, and the politics and ethics of representation. My current research explores Inuit food country food systems and food sovereignty, Inuit advocacy and media-making, community digital archiving, Inuit skin sewing and other forms of creative expression. 

I enjoy collaboration with academic and non-academic partners. From 2014-2022 I was Co-Investigator on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) collaborative project entitled Mobilising Inuit Cultural Heritage (http://mich.info.yorku.ca/) working with Inuit seamstresses and media-makers in Mittimatalik co-founding a women’s sealskin sewing co-op The Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective (MAMC) and creating a digital visual archive of seal skin sewing arts and skills (https://vimeo.com/mamc).

I am currently Co-PI on a collaborative POLAR/UKRI funded project 'Inuksiutit: Food Sovereignty in Nunavut and the Co-production of Country Food Knowledge' addressing Inuit food security and Elders/youth advocacy in the context of climate change. 


  • PhD Social Anthropology 
    2001 - University of British Columbia, Canada 
  • MA Symbolic Anthropology 
    1992 - University of Western Ontario, Canada 
  • BA Anthropology 
    1989 - University of Alberta, Canada 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Department of Anthropology PhD Programme Coordinator

External Memberships

Faculty and Steering Committee Member, International PhD School for the Study of Arctic Societies (IPSSAS)

External Examiner, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (2006-2009)

External Examiner, MA Visual Cultures, MRes Visual Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London (2019-2022)

Prizes and Awards

Oral History Association (USA), Award for Best Project,  2000

Canadian Historical Society Clio Award for the North, 2000


Research Overview

arctic anthropology, ethnohistory, oral traditions, museums and material culture, visual anthropology, anthropology of colonialism, anthropology of art, indigenous media, collaborative methodologies, anthropology of food 

Research Specialisms

  • Social Anthropology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Inuit oral traditions, material culture, historical anthropology, digital archiving, collaborative methodologies, media anthropology, visual anthropology, cultural heritage, anthropology of art, anthropology of food 


Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH): a multi-media, multi-platform re-engagement of voice in visual arts and performance, York University, Canada

Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective: a women’s seal skin sewing and digital archiving collective based in the Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Nunavut Canada.  See: https://vimeo.com/mamc.  https://arnaitmiqsuqtuit.wixsite.com/mamc

I am currently Co-PI (with Prof Anna Hudson, York University Canada) on a collaborative POLAR/UKRI funded project 'Inuksiutit: Food Sovereignty in Nunavut and the Co-production of Country Food Knowledge' addressing Inuit food security and Elders/youth advocacy in the context of climate change.  


Current students:

Qingyang Li,  Doctorate.  Dissertation topic:  dance and NGOs in a Chinese village 

Marie Saunders, Doctorate, Dissertation topic:  Trinidadian historiographies 

Ursula Obrusnik, Doctorate, Thesis topic: The politics of belonging in a Czech-Polish border town. 

Former students:

Peter Lawrence Bates, Doctorate, Thesis title: Knowing caribou: Inuit, ecological science and traditional ecological knowledge in the Canadian Arctic. 

Sophie Caecilie Elixhauser, Doctorate, Thesis title: Nammeq: Personal autonomy and everyday communication in East Greenland

Hiroko Ikuta, Doctorate, Thesis title: Sociality of Dance: Eskimo Dance among Yupiget on St. Lawrence Island and Iñupiat in Barrow, Alaska

Irena Leisbet Connon, Doctorate, Thesis title: Oral narratives and the reaffirmation of native Alutiiq identity

Lidia Joanna Jendzjowsky, Masters of Philosphy, Dissertation Title: Photographs of landscape and indigenous peoples along the Skeena River, Canada

Amber Anne Lincoln, Doctorate, Thesis title: Things of use, things of life: coordinating lives through material practices in Northwest Alaska

Katrin Annemarie Simon-Sakurai, Doctorate, Thesis title:  Never alone: Narratives of spirits in an Alaskan Yup’ik community

Anna C MacLennan, Masters of Research, Dissertation title:  Layers in the Cold: the potential of an anthropological study of Inuit skin clothing

Martina Anne Tyrrell, Doctorate, Thesis title: Inuit perception, knowledge and use of the sea in Arviat, Nunavut

Silvije Habulinec, Masters of Research, Dissertation Title: Material histories of Military Sites in Kangirlussuaq, Greenland, 2015. 

Ursual Obrusnik, Masters of Research, Dissertation title: Urban Aboriginal media in Winnipeg, Canada, 2015.

Zoe Todd, Doctorate, Thesis title: ‘You Never Go Hungry’: Fish pluralities, human-fish relationships, Indigenous legal orders and colonialism in Paulatuuq, Canada.

Tara Joly, Doctorate, Thesis title: The Social Life of Wetlands: wetland reclamation in the western subarctic of Canada, 2017

Frederique Manceau, Masters of Research, Dissertation topic:  The lingerie industry and lace craftsmanship in France. 

Tamara Ranspot, Doctorate, Thesis topic: Ethnomusicology and animal-human relationships in the Yukon, Canada, 2019

Gioia Barnbrook, Doctorate, Thesis title: Continuing the Hunt: Environmental Change, Ecological Knowledge and Provision in Wemindji, Northern Quebec. 2019

Kirsty Kernohan, Doctorate, Thesis title: Leisured Colonialism: objects, archives and family ties in the Keith- Falconer collection at the University of Aberdeen 1873-1945.  2021. 

Funding and Grants

Skin sewing segment of  'Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage: a multi/media platform re-engagment of voice in visual art and performance,  Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Anna Hudson, York University, PI

'Inuit video art', British Academy Small Grant, 2004-2008 

'Material Histories: Social Relationships between Scots and Aboriginal Peoples in the Canadian Fur Trade , c. 1870-1930',  Art and Humanities Research Council, 2005-2007,  (with Professor Tim Ingold and Dr. Alison Brown)


Teaching Responsibilities

Anthropology 1003, Introduction to Anthropology, Peoples of the World

Anthropology 5032, Research in Social Anthropology I

Anthropology 2511, Colonialism Re-imagined

Anthropology 3523, Ethnography 

Anthropology 3006, Methods in Anthropological Research

Anthropology 4522, Oral Traditions

Anthropology 4528 Anthropology of the North (subsistence hunting module)

Anthropology 4010, Indigenous Media

Anthropology 3018, Society and Nature (animal rights module)

Anthropology 5534: Methods training (evidence module) 

School of Social Science Postgraduate Training 5055,  (Academic writing skills module)


Page 1 of 3 Results 1 to 10 of 29

  • With or without the camera running: the work of Inuit film‐making

    Wachowich, N.
    Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 105-125
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Inuit Women’s Sealskin Sewing: a film for the British museum exhibition 'Arctic: Culture and Climate'

    Wachowich, N.
    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
  • Working with nalua: the most delicate of sealskins

    Wachowich, N., Katsak, S.
    Arctic. Lincoln, A., Cooper, J., Loovers, J. P. L. (eds.). Thames & Hudson, in collaboration with The British Museum, pp. 142-148, 7 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Digitalisation of crafts: Comparative approaches to Arctic fur

    Ween, G., Wachowich, N.
    Nordisk Museologi: The Journal of Nordic Museology, vol. 2018, no. 2-3, pp. 30-44
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Leah Aksaajuq Otak: The Measure of a Stitch & the Art of Translation

    Wachowich, N.
    The Hands' Measure. Wachowich, N., MacDonald, J. (eds.). Inhabit Media, pp. 16-34, 18 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Intimate Clips: Sealskin Sewing, Digital Archives and the Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective

    Wachowich, N.
    Museum Anthropology Review, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 75-99
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Anaanavut Qisingit: a meditation on sealskin sewing

    Wachowich, N.
    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
  • The Hands' Measure: Essays honouring Leah Aksaajuq Otak's Contribution to Arctic Science

    MacDonald, J., Wachowich, N.
    Nunavut Arctic College Media, Iqaluit. 396 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Irnivik: Airing Frame

    Wachowich, N.
    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
  • Uiguaqtuq: The Hidden Stitch

    Wachowich, N.
    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Non-textual Forms