• Métis Nation of Ontario
    Indigenous Scholar, Assistant Professor, Architect
    Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture | Price Faculty of Engineering

    318 Architecture 2 Building

    T. 204-474-7234

  • architectural work
  • builing structure set in trees
  • trees in the night backlit blue
  • students listening to elder presenting while sitting in lawnchair
  • group of individuals working in forest school
  • winter white landscape with pine trees
  • abstract rendering
  • abstract rendering
  • abstract rendering


  • B.Env.D, University of Manitoba, 2006.
  • M.Arch, University of Manitoba, 2014.

Professional membership

  • Manitoba Association of Architects
  • Ontario Association of Architects

Research and pedagogy

Shawn's research and pedagogy derive from an intuitive devotion that seeks to understand how traditional Indigenous Knowledge can intertwine with practice and pedagogy, build community and seek meaningful ways of including the natural world. He is interested in how Indigenous teachings reveal renewed approaches to sustainability through visions of relationality. 
He emphasizes community-driven design processes and techniques, connecting people to the Land by integrating Indigenous Knowledge through discussions, teachings and ceremonies. 
In his design studios, Shawn works closely with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Cultural guides to return to land-based principles and as a way to return to an animate understanding of the Land. His journey with Indigenous Knowledge has influenced his perception of teaching design. The Design Studio has provided opportunities for students to build relationships with Indigenous communities and, through new experiences, show the optimistic impact architecture can have personally and existentially.
Shawn has developed a refreshed approach to design for students and the community at the University of Manitoba. By creating Five Decolonizing Design Paradigms for Kahnowiilyaa (Everyone), it has embraced the Ojibway concept of Mino-Bimaadiziwin, which means the good life for all nation's people.  His work promotes Land as pedagogy, Indigenous Knowledge, and process-based experiences through exploration, contemplation, and reflection.
Article in Canadian Architect (May 2022):
Shawn is working on developing a Forest School located on 80 acres in the Boreal Forest. The ambition is to build a place for relationship building, creativity and innovation motivated through spirited exchanges with the Land. The multidisciplinary approach will allow researchers, students, artists and industry to connect with Indigenous Knowledge, Land and technology while building a unique community of imagination.
This project extends his ambition to orient Indigenous Knowledge into the curriculum and the design process. The most significant piece will be to provide impactful opportunities for students to experience the Land, working with Indigenous collaborators and making at full scale.
Alumni donation sparks Indigenous Success Fund: https://news.umanitoba.ca/alumni-donation-sparks-indigenous-success-fund/

Design practice

As an extension of his research, Shawn is a partner in Grounded Architecture. Grounded's research-based approach focuses on creating architecture through storytelling, integrating land-based Knowledge with progressive technology to develop sensitive and creative architecture and processes. GROUNDED is working on projects for Indigenous communities, single-family residential, and the College Insitute of Canada: CICan Greening the Trades project. Grounded Architecture Inc. is a proud Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) member and recognized as a fully Certified Aboriginal Business.
Grounded Architecture Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/groundedarch/?hl=en
Grounded Architecture Website: https://www.groundedarch.ca/

Drawing practice

Shawn explores representation techniques that engage with the Land, desiring intentions detached from preconceived impulses. He is researching how to animate and merge language, technology, and the physical world. This work examines how drawing qualifies connection to place by exploring and abstracting moments in space and time. Shawn explores drawing through LiDAR and photogrammetry scans of physical models, sculptures, analogue sketches and places.  
His methodological representation of entries removes the linear projections of colonial considerations. Rather than solely exploring a world of boundaries, the illustrations reveal themselves as connected systems, hoping to introduce new architectural possibilities. This process decolonizes a programmatic way of seeing by creating language and conceptions assembled from motivations grounded in physical and digital experiences.
Shawn Bailey’s Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/shawn.m.bailey/?hl=en

Recent publications

Shawn Bailey, Honoure Black and Lancelot Coar. "Decolonizing Design Praxis & Pedagogies with Etuaptmumk A Return to Land-Based Learning" Mindful Conversations: Design and Culture Edited by Debasri Basu, Pallavi Swaranjali and William Willoughby. 2023 Adda: A Place for Conversations, Journal 1. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Mindful Habitats. Forthcoming
Shawn Bailey, Honoure Black and Lancelot Coar. "Decolonizing the Design Process with Five Indigenous Land-Based Paradigms." Toronto: Canadian Architect, May 2022, v.67, n.3.

Recent presentations and conferences

Shawn Bailey, October 1st, 2022, Decolonizing Design. Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture CCUSA, "Towards Equity in Architecture, Research & Practice". CAFÉ Capital Sept 29th-Oct 1st 2022 Carleton University.
CBC Spark Episode 549: Designing an Inclusive World. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/segregation-by-freeway-1.6499455
Shawn Bailey & Black, Honoure, October 6th 2022, Decolonizing Design with Indigenous and Land-Based, Paradigms and Praxis, ""Resilient Futures" 2022 AIA/ACSA Intersections Research Conference. Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. October 6th & 7th 2022.
Shawn Bailey & Black, Honoure, Lancelot Coar, May 20th, 2022, Decolonizing Design with Indigenous and Land-Based Paradigms and Praxis. Canadian Council of University Schools of Architecture CCUSA, "Towards Equity in Architecture, Research & Practice". CAFÉ presentation & workshop May 10-27th 2022. CAFÉ Capital Sept 29th-Oct 1st 2022 Carleton University.
Shawn Bailey & Black, Honoure, March 19th, 2022, Decolonizing Design with Indigenous and Land-Based Paradigms and Praxis, CELA, (Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture), Evolving Norms Conference 2022, March 17-19 2022, New Mexico & Virtual. Conference Presenter and Paper Submission for Peer Review