What is the Indigenous Planning Studio?
|The Indigenous Planning Studio is a 13-week Masters-level course (September to December). The term “studio” simply refers to a different style of teaching; instead of sitting in lectures and seminars, the students work on a real-world planning project. This particular studio typically involves eight to ten graduate students who are split up into small teams to work with one of three partnering First Nations.
Partnering First Nations identify the projects, with some input from the studio instructor to ensure the students have the skill-sets to properly support the work. While the instructor provides advice and direction to the students, and maintains contact with each partnering First Nation, the students are encouraged to work directly with their First Nation partners throughout the university term.
It is very important for the students their First Nation partner during the second week of the academic term (usually the third week of September), as this gives them to chance to meet their community contacts and to ask questions about the project. After the initial visit, the students will arrange additional meeting times to seek feedback on draft work.
How First Nations Can Get Involved?
|Meet with the studio instructor to discuss possible planning projects
The studio instructor will find a time to talk about what your community is hoping to achieve and how the students might contribute. The Department of City Planning does ask that there is a designated person in each community who can act as the students’ primary point of contact. This person will often help them better understand the goals of the project, as well as any distinct community or cultural protocol.
Develop an “Expression of Interest” letter
Following the initial meeting, the First Nation should put some of its ideas for possible student work into a short “Expression of Interest”. Please indicate:
1. What the students might work on and the overall goals of the project (though I do understand that community planning is a very dynamic process and priorities change)?
2. Who might be the students’ primary contact person? Will that person be available for the entire university term?
3. Is there a place that the students to work when they come to visit? (Not necessary, but often helpful)
4. How the proposed work fits with other priorities in the community (e.g. has there been a Band Council Resolution to initiate the project? Or maybe it fits into a larger and ongoing initiative?)
Please bear in mind that the university term starts the first week of September, so the Department of City Planning usually likes to have a firm commitment by late July. Please contact the studio instructor as soon as possible, as there is a limited number of First Nations that the Department of City Planning can work with each year.