Indigenous Land Rights and Cultures

Peter Blake's picture
Call for Papers
June 28, 2022
Alberta, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Australian and New Zealand History / Studies, Canadian History / Studies, Local History, Rural History / Studies

As it celebrates its 50th Year anniversary in 2021-22, the Faculty of Environmental Design / School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary is welcoming speakers from indigenous communities in Australia, Canada and elsewhere to participate at the conference CULTURES, COMMUNITIES and DESIGN.

The latest keynote speaker to be announced is Willie Ermine. The other is Alison Page. Both lectures are open to the public.


WILLIE ERMINE teaches at the First Nations University of Canada. He is from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in the north-central part of Saskatchewan. He lectures in Education, Humanities, Indigenous Studies and Research Methods. He researches the nature of Indigenous thought and is particularly interested in the conceptual development of the ‘ethical space’. His keynote will pick up on these themes.

ALISON PAGE is the founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency and co founder of ZAKPAGE, a creative partnership between artists Alison Page and Nik Lachajczak, who co-create with indigenous communities in Australia and elsewhere. She has recently co-authored Design: Building on Country with the architect and anthropologist, Paul Memmott. Her talk will deal with participatory design and indigenous communities.



‘The Countryside’ – a polemically generic term Rem Koolhaas has recently used to reposition debates about our cities to those of rural areas. While posited as ‘new’, it is, in reality, a well established mode of thinking. Through notions such as the peri-urban for example, geographers, sociologists, architects, urban designers and regional economists have all debated the urban-rural relationship for several decades. Under this framework we are obliged to consider the city and its architecture on its own terms, but also address the ‘rural’ in its particular context and, importantly, explore the parallels and mutual influences at play.

According to this logic, the environmental, social, cultural, planning and design issues relevant in our cities find parallels outside the city fringe. Calgary, the host city of this conference, is a perfect example. It has heavy industry, a thriving business economy and a growing tourist sector. However, pockets of the city contend with poverty, pollution and gentrification. As a city, Calgary also ‘pressures’ its surrounding lands including the Rockies and the Banff nature reserve.

While such debates are of concern today around the world, they were also highlighted 50 years ago when the host school of this conference was founded. Back then, Archigram and Buckminster Fuller argued that architecture, technology and the ‘earth’ were interconnected. Jane Jacobs connected the built environment with social concerns. Aldo van Eyke fought for communities and the participatory practices and, in 1971, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) was founded in the United States.

Picking up on its 50th year anniversary, the Faculty of Environmental Design / School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Calgary seeks to foster debate around issues relevant at its opening which remain important and unresolved today. 


The event is organized with support from AMPS and the journal ArchitectureMPS.


Contact Info: 

Lorraine Gess, Peter Blake, Fabian Neuhaus