(O5) Events


Global Studio Lecture Series

Hosted by Athabasca University RAIC Centre for Architecture, Advocates for Equitable Design Education, Indigenous Design Collaborative

Decolonizing Design by Wanda Dalla Costa
Thursday, January 28, 2021
9:00am – 10:30am (MDT) / 11:00am – 12:30 pm (EDT) 

On January 28th, we invite you to join us for an online workshop led by Wanda Dalla Costa focusing on decolonizing design education from an Indigenous perspective. The workshop will dive into four Indigenous design research paradigms: Futurity, Placekeeping, Pluriverse, and Design as Ceremony. Participants will come away from this workshop with a deeper awareness of Indigenous design practices, which can bring insight into their own practice and research.

Wanda Dalla Costa, AIA, LEED A.P. is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She is a practicing architect, a professor and a YBCA 100 2019 honoree. At Arizona State University, she is the director and founder of the Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program, which brings together tribal community members, industry and a multidisciplinary team of ASU students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities. Dalla Costa holds a Master of Design Research in City Design from SCI-Arc, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Calgary.

Indigenous Futurity

Indigenous futurity is an expression coined by Dr. Grace Dillon, a professor of Indigenous

Nations Studies at Portland State University to refer to past-future visions where Indigenous people construct self-determined representations and alternative narratives about their identities and futures. Futurity challenges assumptions consigning Native American peoples and lifeways to the past, and uses creative thinking as a pathway toward Indigenous revival. The base belief, our thoughts and actions toward our future are important. It makes some futures likely and others less likely. Architecture is one portal of reimagining futurity of and for Indigenous people.


Placekeeping is unique as a process from Creative Placemaking and Design Thinking in that it

prioritizes the historical and cultural setting, negotiates an expanded role of citizen experts and knowledge brokers, utilizes Indigenous methodologies as a means of accessing local narrative, and is led by local worldviews and lived experience. The Indigenous Design Placekeeping Framework (IPKF) has four parts: Community-led; Process-based; Place-based; and Reciprocity.


In a world filled with infinite diversity, there are dominant narratives that shape our perceptions of the world. Consequently, worldviews and realities that differ from the status quo become suppressed. Concepts of indigenous worldviews are often unthinkable from the perspective of Eurocentric theories and have been gradually undervalued and invalidated overtime. The pluriverse acknowledges and validates humanity’s interconnectedness as species through concepts such as:  ancestrality, autonomy, and futurality.

Design as Ceremony

Design is research, research is ceremony and design as ceremony. Indigenous architecture is a vessel for preservation of lifeways, norms, value-systems, decision-making, well-being. It is also a teaching tool. It is important that it is viewed as a sacred process. Comprehension of indigenous worldviews can be exemplified through four inseparable modes of understanding: ontology, epistemology, axiology, and methodology: ontology and epistemology are based on a process of relationships that form a mutual reality; the axiology and methodology are based upon maintaining accountability to these relationships.


Time: 60 min lecture with poll and chat room interaction

30 min Q&A


Participants who attend the full 90-minute session will be granted a Certificate of Completion to apply for professional development credits recognized by the following institutes.
  • Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) | 1.5 Structured Learning Hour Ontario Association of Architects
  • (OAA) | 1.5 Structured Learning Hour Cape Institute for Architecture
  • (CIfA) | 0.25 Category 1 CPD Credits Gauteng Institute for
  • Architecture (GIFA) | 0.25 Category 1 CPD Credits KwaZulu Natal Institute for
  • Architecture (SAIA-KZN) | 0.25 Category 1 CPD Credits

For Inquiries:

Dr. Henry Tsang

Assistant Professor, RAIC Centre for Architecture, Athabasca University



January 30, 2021
12:00PM (MST)