Transitions Podcast
AAA Annual Meeting Podcasts – 2023/2022
Naomi Adelson & Cara Krmpotich: On Transitions and Toronto's Cultural Scene

In this episode of the AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting podcast, Naomi Adelson and Cara Krmpotich speak with Matt Artz about the theme of transitions and the importance of community engagement and co-research in their respective fields. They also discuss the concept of data sovereignty and its implications for research and indigenous communities. They also discuss the ongoing process of transition and reconciliation in Canada, particularly in relation to indigenous history and culture. Finally, they provide recommendations for exploring Toronto, including visiting museums such as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Bata Shoe Museum.

About Naomi Adelson

Naomi Adelson is Professor and Associate Vice President, Research and Innovation at Toronto Metropolitan University. As a medical anthropologist she has worked for over 30 years with the Iiyiyu’ch of Whapmagoostui First Nation, in Iiyiyu Istchee (in northern Québec). Her approach to research is grounded in a critical-interpretive analytical framework. Through that framework, her research over the years has looked to challenge and unsettle normative conceptualizations of the human body. Naomi has more recently been working collaboratively with the Whapmagoostui First Nation to digitize and transfer her years of research data to the community in a format appropriate to supporting their active stewardship of the recordings, transcriptions and images. In a separate project, she is exploring the history of a nurse who worked in Whapmagoostui/Kuujjuarapik during the Cold War period of the early 1960s and, in 2021, launched an online life history of esteemed Iiyiyu educator and friend, the late Emily Masty.

About Cara Krmpotich

Cara Krmpotich is a museum anthropologist, specializing in decolonializing and Indigenizing museum practices. Her research and teaching is focused on collections management, repatriation and cultural property, kinship and material culture, and community-engaged practice. Professor Krmpotich is co-director of GRASAC (the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures), an interdisciplinary network of scholars based in Indigenous nations, museums and universities committed to reuniting Great Lakes cultural belongings held in museums with the peoples, places, and knowledges of the territory. She is also co-leader of DigiLabs, an initiative between researchers and museum professionals in Manchester and Toronto to better understand issues of equity, empathy and ethics in digital cultural heritage practices and research. Professor Krmpotich serves as President of the Council for Museum Anthropology, is a Board member for the Ontario Museum Association, and a volunteer with the Textile Museum of Canada. She is a mother, baker, dog enthusiast and avid crossworder.

Toronto Destinations

  • Harbourfront (close to convention centre) & Music Garden
  • St. Lawrence Market (historical building and great market)
  • Kensington Market – a place of transitions as waves of immigrants moved into the city
  • Queen Street & Graffiti Alley – more funky, range of quirky, independent shops alongside the fashion chains
  • The Beach (East end of the city, on Lake Ontario)
  • Distillery District
  • Pan-Am trail connecting walking and cycling trails along the waterfront and the Don Valley and a range of Toronto neighbourhoods. It’s 80 km long!
  • Glad Day Bookshop – the world’s oldest queer bookstore!

Toronto Museums

  • Gardiner – Soaking Wet and On Fire, Natalka Husar (Ukrainian-Canadian identity and belonging); Magdalene Odundo: A Dialogue with Objects (largest North American exhibition to date) seeks transcultural ways of working that are neither colonial nor extractive. Free Thursdays after 4 pm.
  • ROM – Being and Belonging: Contemporary Women Artists from the Islamic World and Beyond, featuring work by 25 artists. And Death: Life’s Great Mystery. Free Admission for Indigenous peoples; Tuesdays are free for Canadian post-secondary students.
  • Bata Shoe Museum – Raymond Moriyama architect; In Bloom: Flowers and Footwear; Obsessed: How Shoes Became Objects of Desire. Permanent exhibit: All About Shoes. Free Admission on Sundays (12-5 pm)
  • Textile Museum of Canada – Gathering. Free for Indigenous visitors. 
  • Fort York National Historic Site – Free admission and free guided tours. Special exhibition: Transforming Grief: Loss & Togetherness in Covid-19
  • Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery – Free Admission – brand new slate of exhibitions opening Oct 13

Two special Museum Tour opportunities:

  • Aga Khan Museum – Thursday (fee includes bus, entry, and group tour) – extraordinary museum with collection from historically significant Muslim civilizations and contemporary communities. Special exhibit: Shezad Dawood: Night in the Garden of Love: multisensory multimedia, gardens for conversations about the environment and the self. Outside the organized tour, the museum is free on Wednesday evenings (4-8 pm)
  • McMichael Art Gallery – Sunday – beautiful location and recognized for its collection of Canadian art, with particular focus on the Group of Seven.

About the 2023 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting

The 2023 /CASCA Annual Meeting is being held Nov. 15-19 in Toronto, Canada. The theme for this year is Transitions. Transitions may be the most constant feature of everyday life. With endless uncertainties that are exacerbated by political turmoil, pandemic unpredictability, and climate crisis, our quotidian experiences are steeped in mutability. Transitions present us with both challenges and opportunities, not only in our everyday lives but also in our work as anthropologists. We hope that transitions may be something that we can approach with a sense of experimentation, imagination, and play, rather than a growing state of exhaustion and dread. As we navigate these transitions, we continue to think about how anthropology can rise to face our current condition, or ways it may fall short. For more information, visit

About the AAA

Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.

It publishes a portfolio of 22 journals, offer career planning and professional development services, support college and university departments, award numerous prizes and fellowships, sponsor a paid summer internship program, and stage research conferences in the Fall and Spring each year.


The Canadian Anthropology Society/Société canadienne d’anthropologie is a bilingual organization operating at a national level with the mandate to promote anthropology in Canada; support anthropological research; disseminate  knowledge in the academic milieu and to the wider public.

La société canadienne d’anthropologie est une organisation bilingue opérant au niveau national et qui a pour mandat de : promouvoir l’anthropologie au Canada; soutenir la recherche anthropologique; diffuser la connaissance de cette discipline dans le milieu académique et dans le public en général.

About Matt Artz

Matt Artz is a business and design anthropologist, consultant, author, speaker, and creator. He writes, speaks, and consults in user experience, product management, and business strategy. He creates products, podcasts, music, and visual art. His podcasts include Anthropology in Business and Anthro to UX.