CCA Master’s Students Program

The CCA’s Master’s Program encourages students at Canadian architecture schools to take up urgent questions of public relevance to the built environment in Canada and beyond. Through a three-month collaborative project at the Study Centre, participants actively engage with the CCA’s collection, participate in seminars and other pedagogical activities, and articulate their own understanding of architecture as a public concern.

In the Postcolony: Everyday Infrastructures of Design

In the Postcolony: Everyday Infrastructures of Design is a three-year thematic cycle that examines how architecture and urbanism continue to respond to the long echoes of colonial practices of spatial dispossession. Each summer a group of three Master’s researchers narrow their focus to a particular territory that continues to be subject to what Achille Mbembe describes as the resonances of the “banality of power”—everyday infrastructures that shape public life. Spanning geographies and time scales, the thematic cycle articulates the complicity of architectural and urban design in colonial, settler-colonial, and postcolonial power dynamics, while also offering emancipatory potential through the projection of more equitable spaces of public engagement.

In the Postcolony I: The Swimming Pools of Nunavut

In the Postcolony II: Treaty 72, Land and Law by Design

In 1836, the British Crown convinced the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON; a collective of the Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) to hand over 1.5 million acres of its land south of present-day Owen Sound, Ontario. In exchange, the Crown committed to protecting the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula in perpetuity. A short eighteen years later, however, in 1854, the Crown, claiming that they could no longer protect SON lands from settler “development,” sought the signature of Treaty 72.

These precipitating events have become important points of contention in title and treaty claims put forward by the SON to the Ontario Superior Court in April 2019. Revolving around forms of redress the SON are seeking from Canada and Ontario in the governments’ failures to protect SON traditional lands and waters, and with the case to be decided upon soon, these events demonstrate how treaty making in the settler colonial state of Canada has material effects in the present-day lives of Indigenous communities and settlers alike.

During the summer of 2021, the CCA Master’s Students Program award recipients will turn their attention to the role Treaty 72 and treaty-making processes more broadly have played and continue to play as legal mechanisms that shape how settler architecture is built and conceived. Recognizing that setter architecture is premised on original acts of dispossession, the students will investigate how treaties are objects of design; forms of spatial violence; and subjects of Indigenous legal action. Supported by invited Indigenous and non-Indigenous architects, activists, and scholars, selected participants will collaboratively create a project that addresses how land, politics, and restitution can shape the future of architectural practice and scholarship within settler colonial nations. The CCA is committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and collaborative space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to foster questions around settler colonialism, Indigenous sovereignty, and architecture.

Application requirements

The call for applications is now closed. The next call for applicants for the 2022 Master’s Students Program will open in January 2022.

Guidelines and terms

Participants to the Program will be selected by a CCA internal committee. Selected candidates will work collaboratively on a common research project, with advising and support provided by the CCA’s Associate Director of Research.

Students currently enrolled in professional and post-professional master’s programs in Canada—Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Environmental Design, or Master of Urban Design—are eligible to apply, regardless of citizenship.

Selected candidates are expected to participate in a three-month residency at the CCA, for which they will receive a stipend of CAD 7 000 to cover travel, housing and living expenses while in Montréal. The award is non-renewable. The Program will take place virtually if travel is not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call for applications is now closed. The next call for applicants for the 2022 Master’s Students Program will open in January 2022.

This program is generously supported by the Power Corporation of Canada.

The diversity of our institution is at the core of our creativity and strengthens our research efforts. While all qualified candidates are invited to apply, we particularly welcome applications from persons with disabilities, Indigenous, Black, and other people of colour, of all genders, and LGBTQ+ persons. Applicants who require accommodations for any part of the application process can contact to receive confidential assistance.

For more information, please send an email to

2021 Participants

Sofia Munera Mora
University of Toronto, Canada

Aamirah Nakhuda
McGill University, Canada

Aidan Qualizza
University of Toronto, Canada


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