Karen Wilson Baptist completed her first degree at the University of Manitoba in Fine Arts, majoring in drawing. Wilson Baptist’s large scale allegorical drawings were exhibited at the First Degree show at the Millennium Centre. She was a participant in the Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art and received a Manitoba Arts Council grant to support her practice. Fascinated by the relationship between creative practices and pedagogy, Wilson Baptist went on to study education in the department of Curriculum: Teaching and Learning at the University of Manitoba. In her master thesis, Vision, Body, and Spirit in Curriculum Inquiry, notions of the garden ground the inquiry, providing a physical, metaphorical and theoretical site for growth, a place for the imagination, and a locus for reflection on the awakening that knowledge brings into being.
The generativity of the garden metaphor spurred further curiosity regarding the relationship between humans and landscape and led Wilson Baptist to pursue a Ph.D. in landscape architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art. Dr. Wilson Baptist's dissertation, Memorial Landscapes: A Phenomenology of Grief, focuses on the relationship between death, grief, and landscape in memorial settings. The emerging trend of the roadside memorial forms the heart of the inquiry, and generative themes divined from the study of spontaneous memorials are excavated, producing a series of experiential strategies of utility to landscape architects interested in expressing the lived experience of grief, death, and landscape in commemorative sites.
Dr. Wilson Baptist’s research continues to focus on a variety of “emotional geographies” (Davidson, Bondi, Smith, 2007) inclusive of memorial sites, cemeteries, (re)wilded topographies, and post-agrarian infrastructural and industrial landscapes. There is a regional focus within her work, with an emphasis on the narrative character, poetic ecologies, and multiple transformations of the Canadian prairie, as well as a continuing interest in design pedagogy. Wilson Baptist has published in both disciplinary-based and interdisciplinary peer-reviewed publications and presented her work at a variety of international conferences. Her work has been supported through the Faculty of Architecture, the UM/SSHRC Travel Grants and the Self-funded Research Grant Program at the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Wilson Baptist recently participated in the Breadloaf Orion Environmental Writers Conference at Middlebury College in Vermont. Wilson Baptist has taught a variety of courses through the Department of Landscape Architecture including Field Studies, Special Topics, Landscape + Urbanism Theory, Design Studio, and Research Methods.
2015 K. Wilson Baptist. Incompatible Identities: Memory and Experience at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Emotion, Space and Society (16), 3-8.
2015 K. Wilson Baptist. Could a Pipeline Save a Butterfly? Proceedings of the Landscape, Wilderness and the Wild Conference, Newcastle University, 26-29 March 2015, 90-95.
2014 K. Wilson Baptist, Theory Theatre: Reflections on an Experiment in Border Pedagogies. Landscape Research Record (1), 95-105.
2013 K. Wilson Baptist. Reenchanting Memorial Landscapes: Lessons from the Roadside. Landscape Journal, 32:1, 35-50.
2013 K. Wilson Baptist. The Post-Industrial Sublime or Forgetting Love Canal. Proceedings of the 4th Global Conference: Space and Place, Mansfield College, Oxford, UK, September 9-12, 2013.
2013 K. Wilson Baptist. Roadstories: Wild Being from Birth. 2012 UNESCO UNITWIN Network Conference: Tourism, Roads, and Cultural Itineraries: Meaning Memory and Development, Quebec City, June 13-15, 2012, 469-478.
2012 K. Wilson Baptist. Shades of Gray: The Role of the Sublime in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Landscape Review: A Southern Hemisphere Journal of Landscape Architecture 14:2, 75-85.2010 K. Wilson Baptist. Diaspora: Death without a Landscape. Mortality, 15:4, 294-307.
Davidson, J., Bondi, L. and Smith, M., (2007) Emotional geographies. Aldershot: Ashgate.