Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge

Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge (ELK) is a collaborative art-and-knowledge project originated by Pam Hall and engaging hundreds of collaborators in communities on the Northern Peninsula and Bonne Bay for Chapter 1; on Fogo Island and Change Islands, for Chapter 2; and partnering with Mi’kmaq artist Jerry Evans and community collaborators in Miawpukek / Conne River, Newfoundland for Chapter 3.

ELK explores art as a form of making and moving knowledge and reveals many ways of knowing that are local, living, and still fruitfully in use. Traditionally, we have often seen science as our only authoritative source of knowledge and this project works to expand, deepen and make visible many other forms of knowledge that have been under-valued and consequently under-used. Some would argue that such local knowledge, whether traditional or contemporary, has been excluded from important conversations about planning a sustainable future for rural communities, and at least part of the intention of this project, is to open and broaden the dialogue around who holds the knowledge and thus gets to be included in dialogues and decision making about the places we inhabit and how we live in them.

ELK exists in multiple forms; as unbound printed panels or “pages” in community-owned boxed sets, as a website where all the work is accessible to everyone, and as a hard-covered book of “excerpts”. For more details on this project, please visit:

Chapter I: Northern Peninsula and Bonne Bay

Chapter II: Fogo and Change Islands

Chapter III: Miawpukek – The Middle River

The ELK has been exhibited many times in many places, from community museums to public art galleries, from science centres to cultural interpretation centres.  Below are excerpts from two current exhibitions – the first is Miawpukek: The Middle River (made with Mi’Kmaq artist Jerry Evans) at the Discovery Centre in Gros Morne National Park in Woody Point, NL. This work will be on display there until 2023.

The second exhibit is a permanent installation of Excerpts from all 3 Chapters which recently opened at the QEII Library on the St. John’s Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.