Indigenous Designer in Residence

Indigenous residency landing

Application Deadline Extended to May 31, 2017

The School of Art at the University of Manitoba is offering a six-month, paid residency for an Indigenous Designer, whose work invites interdisciplinary, critical, and speculative challenges to dominant practices in design.

This opportunity arises at a time when the field of design is enjoying a cultural spotlight: there is broad interest in how designers think and “solve problems”; there is a growing awareness of how “good” design impacts daily experiences; many post-secondary design programs are experiencing growth in student numbers as the field expands to include new domains of practice (user-experience design, interaction design, data visualization, game design). The discipline overall is optimistic, energized and growing.

And yet, it also comes at a time of increasing interest among practitioners and critics, to become more reflective of the ways in which design contributes to sustaining problematic social realities. For example, its role in perpetuating stereotypes; its role in normalizing forms of systemic oppression; its role in glamourizing products or processes that cause serious environmental harm; and a general perspective on aesthetics, form and beauty, that privileges a Eurocentric bias. Design has lots to think about and to account for. This desire to address design’s role in reproducing certain damaging and often unintended frameworks is seen in emergence of platforms like Decolonize Design (Sweden), Allied Media Conference (United States) and the ABCD Group (Canada).

The residency is open to individuals of Indigenous heritage whose practice engages with methods, materials, processes and media that are common to design, in order to investigate concerns connected to identity, knowledge, memory, futures from an Indigenous perspective. This practice leads us to a new and unexpected understanding of design, media and visual communication. The expansive, interdisciplinary and reflective practice may be based in critical, speculative or social approaches to design. It may also include areas of practice that incorporate video or film, activism, algorithms, data, information and interaction such as data visualization, game design, creative coding and/or AR/VR.

During the six-month residency, interacting closely with students and faculty the Resident designer will work towards two primary and equally important roles. First, in their capacity as an active and engaged interdisciplinary designer, she/he will produce a body of new creative work and research, which extends our relationship to, and understanding of design, media and visual communication. Second, in their direct service to students and faculty, she/he will assume an important pedagogical role, by introducing new ways of thinking, new perspectives and new knowledge, to course content and future course development; as well as to faculty governance and planning and strategies. The SoA will facilitate a residency program that emphasizes a multi-layered exchange of culture, ideas, creative practices and knowledge on campus, in the Winnipeg arts community, and among Manitoba Indigenous communities.

Interested candidates should electronically submit the following items: a letter of interest indicating how the residency would propel the designer’s practice and ideas; visual samples showing a body of work that is interdisciplinary, and connected to the concerns stated above; statement of design philosophy; three letters of reference to the School of Art. Finalists will be contacted for Skype interviews and the position will be selected by a group made up of School of Art faculty and members of the University Indigenous community, and the broader Indigenous arts community in Winnipeg.

Deadline to apply
May 31, 2017

Dates of Residency
September 2017–February 2018.

School of Art, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Indigenous heritage.

This is a paid residency that will cover:
• Cost of living.
• Studio.
• Access to SoA facilities.

To Apply
Submit the following items electronically to:
• A letter of interest indicating what would be attempted over the residency;
• Visual samples showing a body of work;
• Statement of design philosophy;
• 3 Letters of reference.

Submit materials to