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Truth & Reconciliation: Indigenous Perspectives on the Role of Art and Architecture on University Campuses

Fri, May 27/22 – 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Main Hall, Daniels Building
1 Spadina Crescent

Please Register: Eventbrite
Click here (Zoom link) to register.
Livestream on the CultureTO YouTube channel

Doors Open Toronto
Presented by Great Gulf

Open InSights – Keynote Talk

IMPORTANT: Doors will open at 6 p.m. and entry will be first-come, first-served. Ticket holders must arrive by 6:20 p.m. (with their printed or mobile ticket) to claim their seats. As many people order tickets and do not attend, we have released more tickets than available seats. There will be a rush line for those without tickets. Any unclaimed seats will be released to the rush line at 6:20 p.m. 

Please note: For public health and safety, the University of Toronto requires that masks be worn in indoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Masks are therefore required to attend this event. Thank you for your cooperation.

Presented by Doors Open Toronto in partnership with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto

Indigenous knowledge keepers, architects and artists from across Turtle Island will gather to share their artistic work and involvement in creative projects situated at local post-secondary institutions. This is happening at a time when universities are re-imagining their role in collective education and knowledge, as well as in sharing narratives of Indigeneity, settler colonialism and Canadian identity. These presentations will explore the role of art and architecture in Truth and Reconciliation and the artists’ process of creation from their respective Indigenous cultures and points of view.

Generously supported by Postsecondary Education Fund for Aboriginal Learners

Presentations by: 

Susan Blight, Artist
Matthew Hickey, Two Row Architect
Que Rock, Artist
Shannon Simpson, University of Toronto, Office of Indigenous Initiatives

Moderated by James Bird, PhD Student in Architecture (University of Toronto, Daniels Faculty)

(Photo by: Nadya Kwandibens/Red Works Photography)

Speaker and Moderator Biographies:

Susan blight photograph

Susan Blight (Anishinaabe, Couchiching First Nation) is an interdisciplinary artist working with public art, site-specific intervention, photography, film and social practice. Her solo and collaborative work engages questions of personal and cultural identity and its relationship to space. Susan is Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

Matthew Hickey is a Kanyen'kehà:ka (Mohawk) Architect, belonging to the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation. He has more than 16 years of experience working with Two Row Architect, an Indigenous-owned and -operated firm. He also currently teaches at OCAD University and at the University of Toronto. Hickey’s research looks primarily at the realignment of Western ways of being toward thousands of years of Indigenous knowledge across our built environments.

Que Rock takes interactions from daily life, the city and Anishnaabe culture. His love of nature and animals is prominent in his work because of its deep meaning and connection to life. Que Rock calls his style “Making the woodlands dance”, and his goal is to portray ancestral teachings, sacred geometry and Laws of Nature in all his art forms. Que Rock’s art has allowed him to work closely with art directors, city officials and corporate clients to make their visions come to life. He enjoys working with people and has collaborated with many artists on projects of all scales from graphic books to videos to murals around the world.

Shannon Simpson is Anishinaabe and Scottish and a member of the Mississauga’s of Alderville First Nation. She has been working at the University of Toronto since 2003 in a variety of positions, including several years at the Indigenous Student Services at First Nations House. Just over 2 years ago she joined the Office of Indigenous Initiatives as the Director. This tri-campus office is responsible for overseeing and supporting U of T’s responses to the 34 Calls to Action that are a result of U of T’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.


James K. Bird, M.Arch., MRAIC is a proud member of the Dënesųłiné Nation and affiliated with the Northwest Territories Métis Nation. He is also a residential survivor. He holds an Honors B.A. comprising two major fields of study: Indigenous Studies and Canadian History with a minor in Renaissance Culture. Currently completing a master’s degree in architecture at the University of Toronto. His current work examines the intersection between Indigenous languages and shape forming – using parametrics and algorithms. He is a Member of The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Indigenous Task Force on Architecture. James was proud to be part of the Canadian team that won the 2018 Venice Architectural Biennale – a team headed by world-renowned Indigenous Architect Douglas Cardinal and 18 other Indigenous architects.