• Shawn Bailey
  • Assistant Professor
    Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture
    Price Faculty of Engineering
    Indigenous Scholar

    201H John A. Russell Building
    84 Curry Place, University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus)
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2M6

    T. 204-474-7234, 807-464-1151

  • building in construction
  • students moving ice shack in winter
  • fish being pulled out of ice fishing hole


  • B.Env.D, University of Manitoba
  • M.Arch, University of Manitoba

Professional qualifications and affiliations

  • Métis  Nation of Ontario
  • MAA  Manitoba Association of Architects
  • OAA  Ontario Association of Architects
  • MRAIC  Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
  • RAIC ITS  Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Indigenous Task Force

Research / bio

Shawn Bailey is a Métis architect with the Manitoba and Ontario Association of Architects.  He holds a Master degree in architecture from the University of Manitoba. Shawn has 18 years of experience in practice working within a wide range of project types, from small to large residential, institutional, industrial, and commercial projects which include both new builds and renovations.

Shawn’s portfolio of work includes award-winning projects situated in North Western Ontario.  His research interest focuses on collaborative design processes that seek to draw connection to the land through indigenous knowledge and perspectives. Rather than focusing on contemporary trends and sophisticated visions, his work seeks to develop an architectural understanding through a process rooted in story.  

Shawn and his students have recently collaborated with the community of Iskatewizaagegan to design a culturally based recreational park to help improve the community’s long-term financial stability and cultural awareness among visitors and community members.  He recently collaborated with the community Shoal Lake 40 on a new project that sees architecture and engineering students collaborate with community members to design and build a pavilion for community feasts.  Currently, Shawn is collaborating with a grassroots initiative, community members, elders and knowledge keepers to help address the issue of homelessness seen in Northwestern Ontario municipalities.  This project includes exploring how the application of Indigenous Knowledge can inform a respectful way of negotiating with modern design thinking and practices while empowering community.

Shawn is a native of Kenora, Ontario and was raised in a remote area on Lake of the Woods. Being situated within a rich natural context provided him with sensitivity and a respect towards nature.  Shawn’s work seeks inspiration from his relationship with the natural environment.  He believes the method for seeking an architectural understanding that reanimates our sensory world in relation to nature is one that embraces reciprocity over prescription.

Shawn has also explored material research and digital fabrication. He is interested in exploring digital technology in more intuitive ways that inform making.  The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:MIT has conducted a series of workshops based on the material research from his design thesis.  Shawn is proficient in Building Information Modelling (BIM) as well as algorithmic modelling software.


  • Design studios

    2017 - 2018 - Constructing Atmosphere
    Participation in the Architects Without Borders, Indigenous Housing Ideas Competition for Remote Access Housing

    2018 - 2019 - The Spirit of Place
    Collaboration with the community of Shoal Lake 40 to develop a powow grounds for community gathering and ceremony

    2019 - 2020 - The Gift is in the Making
    Collaboration with Iskatewizaagen and the Department of Landscape Architecture to develop a culturally based recreational park to help improve the community's long-term financial stability and cultural awareness among visitors and community members. Publication pending.

    2020 - 2021 - Kahnowiiya "Everyone"
    Collaboration with local elders, knowledge keepers, planners, government officials, grass roots initiatives and members of the street family to the confront the subject of affordable housing, and programming that supports healing.

  • Topics course

    2017 - 2020 - Technology and Indigenous Knowledge
    An exploration of how Indigenous knowledge, art, and technique can influence contemporary processes of making architecture.  The objective is to introduce, through an architectural lens, a symbiotic way of knowing and crafting that adopts current practices and technology steered by Indigenous approaches and thinking.  

  • Design build

    2017 - Sioux Narrows and Nestor art studio
    2018 - Feasting shelter with Shoal Lake 40
    2019 - Lake of the Woods Brewery Ice Fishing huts


  • 2018 - Métis Architecture and Design Symposium
  • 2019 - Identity and Indigeneity by Design
  • 2019 - Indigenous Scholar Speaker Series
  • 2019 - Ingenium
  • 2020 - caISES 2020 Gathering - Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society - American Indian Science and Engineering Society
  • 2020 - Atmosphere 2020 Next School - Moderator
  • 2020 - RAIC Virtual Academic Summit on Architecture

Publications and articles

Academic projects

  • Land Acknowledgement 2019 - 2020: Cedar Lake Ranch with ED2 Students.
  • Land Acknowledgement 2020 - 2021 Environment Design Orientation.
  • Indigenous Housing Initiative with Tech Access Centre Canada and the Collage of Rehabilitation Sciences.
  • Affordable Housing in Northwestern Ontario.
  • Dakamigad: A community Plaza for the City of Kenora.
  • Interactive and educational Design & Build and career awareness platform with Grey and Ivy inc.
  • Indigenous Food Systems diploma program.
  • Sagkeeng First Nation Housing – Aging in Place Collaboration with Sagkeeng, College of Rehabilitation Sciences and the Asper School of Business.