Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge

Towards an Encyclopedia of Local Knowledge (ELK) is a collaborative art-and-knowledge project by Pam Hall and many knowledge-holders in rural Newfoundland. It 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. Its first two Chapters were based on field research with hundreds of participants in communities on the Northern Peninsula, Bonne Bay, Fogo and Change Islands, Newfoundland. Currently, Hall is working with Mi’Kmaw artist Jerry Evans to create Chapter 3: The Middle River, which will share knowledge from collaborators in Conne River/Miawpukek, NL.

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


In 2017, Excerpts from Chapters 1 & 2 were published by Breakwater Books and ISER Books at MUN. The book can be purchased at most bookstores in Newfoundland, or from Breakwater Books.