Master’s Students Program: The Swimming Pools of Nunavut

Research, June 2020 to August 2020

The summer of 2020 marked the beginning of In the Postcolony, a three-year thematic series facilitated through the CCA Master’s Students Program. The series aims to examine how architecture and urbanism continue to respond to the long echoes of colonial practices of spatial dispossession. The Swimming Pools of Nunavut is the first instalment of the series and probes the social, political, and environmental impacts of creating volumes of warm water in cold climates.

Following this line of inquiry, and in collaboration with invited northern and southern architects, activists and scholars, participants of the 2020 CCA Masters Program turned their attention to the methods and lenses used to analyze the social, environmental, and logistical consequences of the swimming pools. They created an online Toward Unsettling syllabus and supplementary index of short writings—both intended to expand through an open call for submissions from students, designers, activists, and historians.

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.


Misca Birklein-Lagassé
University of Toronto, Canada

Zaven Titizian
University of Waterloo, Canada

Ally Pereira-Edwards
Carleton University, Canada

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