Most, if not all, urban and regional planning programs in former British settler-states (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) struggle to design curricula that attend to the interface between Indigenous peoples and professional planners and consider the possibilities for decolonisation.

This presentation considers how studio-based learning and the formation of robust community partnerships with Indigenous communities can be used to address these challenges.

Drawing on the experiences and reflections of the instructor and students involved in the University of Manitoba’s Indigenous Planning Studio, it explores how studios contribute to the development of distinct professional skills, values and practices.

Yet, as this presentation shows, this approach to teaching and learning can also unsettle students’ sense of professional competence. In this case, a sense of unsettlement was a valuable and productive learning outcome that opened more critical lines of questioning about the competencies that dominate and define professional planning practice and the possibilities for planning with (and not for) Indigenous peoples.

About the presenter

Janice Barry is an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba’s Department of City Planning, in Winnipeg, Canada. She holds a PhD in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia and held previous positions at the University of Sheffield and University of Glasgow. She has published in several leading planning journals and is the author, with Libby Porter, of Planning for Coexistence? Recognizing Indigenous rights through land-use planning in Canada and Australia (Routledge, 2016). Janice also teaches the University of Manitoba’s Indigenous Planning Studio, an intensive service-learning module that engages postgraduate students in land and community planning issues identified by partnering First Nation communities. She is also an active member of Manitoba Institute of Professional Planners and has been working her students and professional planning colleagues to highlight innovative approaches to planning with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous sovereignty.

Image by rpaterso via Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


RMIT University, Building 9, Level 3, Room 11


27 March 2017