One Sky,
many worlds

Client: INGENIUM, Canada's MUseums of sciences and innovation & NOMAD EXHIBITIONS


Run dates: OPENs MAY 2022 @ INGENIUM

Project brief:
• Act as full service experience design agency, collaborator and sub-contractor to established traveling exhibitions firm located abroad.
• Create an understanding of visitors' own connection to the night sky, and explore enduring Indigenous relationships as seen globally.
• Content Development and Interpretive Planning
• Development Workshops
• Schematic materials for Installation Planning and Content Mapping
• Promotional materials

What is your relationship with the night sky? Do you long to understand how the night sky influences us and sustains us? What am I seeing when I look up?

One Sky, Many Worlds; Indigenous Voices in Astronomy
is a collaborative traveling exhibition created in partnership with, and led by traditional knowledge keepers from around the world. Indigenous leaders. Working with the larger working team of Curators, Scientists and Exhibition leaders; we aimed to deliver a high impact–both culturally and scientifically–installation suite of materials to ignite audiences, and encourage them to re-establish their own connections with the night sky.

How might we create an experience that showcases Indigenous perspectives and understandings of the night sky?

Each of us, at some point, has looked up and wondered about the night sky and how we fit into this complex puzzle of life on earth and beyond. One Sky, Many Worlds seeks to create connection and understanding by collaborating with traditional knowledge keepers in order to generate a comprehensive picture of how science, spirit and life are inextricably intertwined. Not only does the experience showcase a wide variety of Indigenous voices from around the globe; it is specifically designed to exude the Indigenous perspective in both aesthetic and tone. Crisp's goal is for people represented in the installation, and it's associated materials, to feel at home and secure in the presentation of their teachings of the night sky. We also wanted to ensure the presentation of these concepts were shared in exciting, inspiring, and engaging ways with the viewer.

MAKE IT RAIN: Concept sketch highlighting the experiential nature of the installation, and our connection to the stars.

Look up! You don't know what you're missing.
With the creation of the One Sky experience, we hoped to encourage visitors to do just that. We often found ourselves revisiting our own connections with the night sky–even here in the polluted, urban skies of Los Angeles.

Working with Dr. Annette S. Lee–an Indigenous Curator, Artist, Professor, Astrophysicist, and Adventurer– and the rest of the Ingenium and Nomad team; Crisp had the pleasure of learning about the stars above us, and how we can connect to them in meaningful ways.

"We were Star People.
We are Star People.
We will be Star People."
        – Te Kahuratai Painting,
             Wilfred Buck, and many
             Indigenous voices

The team started with the seed of an idea: create an exhibition that embraced and amplified the Indigenous voice of traditional knowledge keepers. Our collaborative efforts showcased not one, but ELEVEN Indigenous groups; including: Ojibwe, Lakota/Dakota, Ininew, Mi'kmaw, Diné, Africa, Maori, Australia, Mexico, and Hawaiian.

Together we crafted a narrative for the installation. One that weaves together the story of many cultures learning from, and becoming part of the night sky they see and feel around them.

Storytelling at its finest!
In order to create partnerships with traveling exhibition venues and institutions, a suite of promotional materials has been generated. Highlighting the content plan, which outlines select Indigenous stories and histories, the materials are generated to create understanding as to what the exhibition will be like, and how it can work as a kit-of-parts to install at any global institution. The exhibition design was conceived with considerations for inclusive design, flexibility for travel and new venue locations, and will likely be presented in at least three languages at all times: English, Spanish or French, and the Indigenous language of each showcased area. Beginnings of exhibition design layouts and sketches were generated to further these promotional materials. The installation must represent the cultures it showcases, as such, it was a pleasure to work with–and follow the lead of–the team's Co-Curator and Indigenous Design Advisor, Annette S. Lee.

While one never wants to leave a project mid-development, especially after a year+ of productive partnerships, COVID-19 made it challenging for Crisp to stay on with the project due to budget reductions. Luckily, the work continues, with in-house resources, and we look forward to seeing the final installation come to life May 2022 in Ottawa! Go, Team, go!

"Working with Davina was a pleasure. She not only brought to the project an extensive background in successful and innovative design but I felt her heart and soul engage with the project. She went very far out of her way to immerse herself in the ideas in order to create a truly authentic exhibit experience. Smart and clever, yet strong and playful. I highly recommend working with Davina and her team!"
– Dr. Annette S. Lee,
Associate Professor of Astronomy & Physics, St. Cloud State Univ. (SCSU); Adjunct Associate Professor, Centre for Astrophysics, Univ. of Southern Queensland (USQ); SCSU Planetarium & Native Skywatchers Director

VIDEO CAPTION: Dr. Annette S. Lee's original video discussing her connection to the stars and the unique perspective and expertise that have inspired the exhibition.