Indigenous-led Design Fellowship Program

The Indigenous-led Design Fellowship is open to Indigenous designers who engage in projects that can be put into conversation with current initiatives at the CCA while also holding relevance to their home communities and/or other communities they have long standing ties to.

Each year, two fellowships will be awarded to designers (architects, urban planners, or individuals who self-identify as Indigenous and are making a substantial intervention in the built, unbuilt, or natural environment) while they undertake projects that help expand the scope and definitions of Indigenous design. These projects should be primarily relevant for members of these designers’ own communities, but may also aim to reorient the design world at large toward the ideals of Indigenous-led architectural practice. The fellowship can support further research, site documentation, and/or the consultation process around an active or speculative project. We particularly welcome applications from individuals in the emerging stages of their career paths.

Each Indigenous-led Design Fellow’s project will enter into dialogue with the CCA Collection, either by formally entering the Collection, being held in trust in collaboration with another institution or organization, and/or by intervening through other materials held by the CCA. The CCA Collection holds minimal material authored by Indigenous designers. The ambition of the fellowship is for Indigenous-led Design Fellows to probe this absence and to intervene in the Collection in ways that could be meaningful to their practices and communities. Dialogue between the fellows and the CCA will be at the core of this program. Broadly, the aim of the fellowship is to share knowledge on how architecture needs to be a critically, socially engaged practice.

Topics of interest that Indigenous-led Design Fellows address can be broad and diverse, though all should share the ambition of supporting Indigenous communities and their experiences of the built environment. Projects can range from practices of advocacy and activism for equitable access to basic infrastructure (drinking water, broadband internet, urban strategies or policies that have reaffirmed colonization over the community’s growth, etc.), to the furthering of land-based knowledges and their ties to food sovereignty, climate futures, and Indigenous-defined notions of law, health, care and cultural safety. Fellows can hold any nationality and identify with communities in any region of the world, across urban, rural, settlement or reserve contexts.

Guidelines and Terms

Each Fellowship recipient will receive CAN $10 000 to support their design project over the course of a four-month period. At the conclusion of this period of research and/or design, which should begin no later than 1st September, each fellow will receive funding (travel, accommodation, and per diem) to undertake a one-week residency at the CCA to engage with the Collection, CCA staff, and other resources. The Indigenous-led Design Fellowship will run for three iterations from 2022 to 2024.

The 2024 Indigenous-led Design Fellowship selection committee members will be announced soon.


All applications must be submitted online through the CCA application portal, in English or in French, and must include:

• a relevant portfolio of work (visual, textual, or other);
• a brief statement (500 words) describing the goals of the project and what dimension of the CCA Collection, public programming, curatorial themes, or other, it would engage with;
• a curriculum vitae;
• in efforts to be responsive to concerns voiced from Indigenous communities, the CCA may ask selected candidates who self-identify as Indigenous to submit one of these references: their status card, a letter of support from their community (Band Council, Elders Council, cultural center, etc.), or a letter of support from their peers (Native Friendship Centre, Indigenous Students Services Circle, etc.).

Deadline: 22 April 2024 at 11:59pm (EST)

For questions regarding the program, please contact

For updates on the Indigenous-led Design Fellowship Program, please subscribe to the CCA newsletter.

This program is generously supported by the CCA and National Bank.

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. Candidates are encouraged to self-identify in their application (CV or cover letter). Applicants who require accommodations for any part of the application process can contact to receive confidential assistance.

Shawn Bailey
Architect and Assistant Professor (University of Manitoba)
“Grounded Architecture”

Lauren A Wolfe
Research Associate (University of British Colombia)
“The No Longer and The Not Yet”

Naomi Ratte
Intern Landscape Architect
“Peguis First Nation and the Netley-Libau Marsh: Documenting Indigenous Land Use and Occupancy at the mouth of the Red River”

Jason Surkan
“Research into Land-Based Lifestyles: The Northern Métis Home”


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