Chris Grosset Presents: The Path: Reconciliation, Learning, and Landscape Architecture
Faculty of Architecture Distinguished Lecture
Date: Thursday, January 16, 2020
Location: Centre Space, John A. Russell Building
Successful landscape architecture projects represent the fusion of creative vision with a formal process of design, planning, and implementation. Our professional practice emerges from our world view that is informed by education, experience, cultural context, and creativity. Through an applied process we gradually master the skills of the profession by organizing place, resources and people to achieve a well-defined goal.
Achieving “reconciliation” is also a process. But there is no single definition of what “reconciliation” will mean. Reconciliation describes a state of being, defined by connections between cultures, communities and individuals in the past, the present and the future. There is no project plan and no checklist to achieve the goal. Reconciliation is a destination defined by the journey – a journey without a map to an undefined place, along paths that haven’t yet been revealed. Every First Nations, Inuit or Métis person and community in Canada has lived their own truth. Every non-Indigenous Canadian has a responsibility to acknowledge a state of reconciliation which can only be defined through their personal and professional process of seeking.
Travelling the path towards reconciliation in the design professions requires non-Indigenous professionals and our institutions to reflect on our learned approaches, our solutions based processes, and our ethics. We must look within ourselves and our profession to reflect on what needs to be learned or unlearned in order to become partners in reconciliation.
Having worked alongside Indigenous communities in the Arctic and across Canada for twenty years, Chris Grosset has learned in their classrooms, on their land, in their homes, or during their project meetings. Through this lecture he will explore the formal and informal paths towards reconciliation through learning and his practice as a landscape architect. He’ll explore how Indigenous perspectives have changed his process and principles, and reflect on practical approaches that may enable non-Indigenous design professionals to travel the path of reconciliation.
Chris Grosset, FCSLA NuALA NWTALA CAHP
Chris is a partner at NVision InSight Group, an Indigenous consulting firm with offices in Ottawa and Iqaluit.
For two decades he’s specialized in landscape planning and design projects across the Canadian arctic that support Indigenous land use, socio-economic development, and heritage conservation. His practice integrates Indigenous traditional knowledge with landscape architecture approaches for protected areas and heritage sites. He’s a part-time instructor of community planning at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa, a post-secondary program providing Inuit youth with academic learning in their cultural context.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1993 and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph in 2000. He’s a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, President of the Nunavut Association of Landscape Architects, and a member of the Northwest Territories Association of Landscape Architects and Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.
Since 2016 he has Chaired the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Reconciliation Advisory Committee, mandated “to guide the CSLA in improving awareness and capacity for supporting Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples”. Chris was awarded the CSLA Schwabenbauer Award in 2011 and CSLA Presidents Award in 2018 for his work to further the profession on Indigenous awareness. In 2018 his firm, in partnership with HTFC, was awarded a CSLA Award of Excellence for the Kinngaaluk Territorial Park Master Plan, a site in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, that protects a critical harvesting site used by Inuit for generations. The project was featured on the cover of the January 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, published by the American Society of Landscape Architects. In 2019 he led the establishment of Landscape Architecture Canada Fund’s new National Indigenous Scholarship in Landscape Architecture.
Away from the office he is supporter of Canadian artists through his family’s gallery, General Fine Craft, and an enthusiastic gardener.