Catherine Cole

Catherine Cole

Preservation and Continuity of Inuit Culture through Community-Based Cultural Centres in Nunavut

Catherine Cole – Consultant from Edmonton, Alberta
Principal Consultant, Catherine C. Cole & Associates
Secretary-General, Commonwealth Association of Museums
Vice-Chair, ICOM CAMOC (Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities)

Catherine C. Cole is a heritage consultant based in Edmonton, Canada, specializing in cultural planning and policy development, strategic research and planning, and community-based arts and heritage projects. A historian by training, she has thirty years experience as an interpreter, curator, and consultant, working for all levels of government, museums, galleries and related organizations. Since 2013, she has served as secretary general of the Commonwealth Association of Museums (CAM). She is also Vice-Chair of ICOM CAMOC (Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities). She worked in the Solomon Islands from 1991-1993 as Head of the Division of Culture, Environment and Tourism for the Western Province and was previously a curator and programmer in museums and historic sites in Ontario and Alberta. 

Over the past decade, Catherine Cole has been working with the Inuit Heritage Trust in Nunavut to provide training to manage community-based cultural/heritage centers. Heritage workers in Nunavut face numerous challenges because the territory is very large yet has a small population in diverse communities not accessible by road. Museums in Nunavut are primarily concerned with with language retention and cultural preservation as opposed to archaeological, historical or artistic objects and accord more importance to the conservation of cultural and natural landscapes than heritage buildings. The centers are also often expected to fill multiple roles in the community, to provide social and economic benefits, as well as educational benefits. Cole has traveled throughout Nunavut, studying the needs of the heritage communities and providing training to manage community-based cultural/heritage centres for the Inuit Heritage Trust, Nunavut Tourism, the Government of Nunavut, or individual communities. She recently led a workshop teaching cruise ship preparedness in Pond Inlet, an Inuit community on Baffin Bay.

Catherine Cole received an MA in Canadian history from the University of Alberta.