UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Faculty of Architecture
UM Today Network

Faculty of Architecture New Hires (left to right) Sarah Cooper, Kurt Espersen-Peters, Katherine Isaac, Shawn Bailey, Kamni Gill

Faculty of Architecture welcomes new hires

August 2, 2018 — 

The Faculty of Architecture is pleased to welcome the following new Faculty members:

Sarah Cooper
Assistant Professor, Department of City Planning 

Sarah Cooper’s research interests focus on social policy and the implications of privatization and commodification of social programs. She approaches her work with a social justice lens, seeking to identify and address inequity in policy development and implementation. Her current research examines housing for low-income households in Canada, with a focus on the expiry of social housing funding agreements—an issue that will transform the landscape of housing and housing policy in Canada over the next few decades.

Sarah grew up in Toronto, and completed a Bachelor of Environmental Studies at York University (Toronto), followed by a Master of City Planning at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) and a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois (Chicago). Prior to completing her PhD, Sarah worked as a Research Associate and Planner at the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources in Winnipeg, and as a researcher at the Manitoba office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 

Kurt Espersen-Peters
Assistant Professor, Department of Interior Design

Before joining the University of Manitoba, Kurt was the program coordinator and a professor in the Bachelor of Interior Design program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. Kurt was also a visiting lecturer in the MSc. (Interior Design) Program at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka from 2013 to 2016.

Kurt was born and raised on Vancouver Island, but his curiosity and desire to explore have led him to other spectacular and inspiring places. Always following his keen eye for detail, his interests in art, nature, and the built environment drive his thinking and inspire his creativity.

His passion for teaching and education is equally matched by his obsession with art and the built environment. His academic and artist works explore the creative process and reflective thought. Kurt is excited about his new appointment with the Department of Interior Design at the University of Manitoba. He will continue his research and reflection on the phenomenology of the built environment and the design process, while forever wrestling with the works of the Victorian polymath John Ruskin.

Katherine Isaac
Instructor, Environmental Design Program and Department of Interior Design

Katherine Isaac is an interior designer and educator living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has both undergraduate and masters degrees in interior design from the University of Manitoba, and is a professionally accredited practitioner with over 2 decades of experience. Her career has spanned both Vancouver and Winnipeg to date, and she has practiced at Kasian, Bricault Design and currently, Local. Katherine has previously been awarded the Students’ Teacher Recognition Award in 2015, an honour bestowed for having made a positive impact on a graduating student’s life. Current teaching and research interests centre around Beginning Design pedagogies, expanding understanding of professional practice for emerging designers, and spaces for grieving and memorialization. She welcomes this opportunity to work within and contribute to the University of Manitoba community.

Shawn Bailey
Indigenous Scholar for the Faculty of Architecture and the Faculty of Engineering

Shawn Bailey is a Métis architect with the Manitoba and Ontario Association of Architects.  He holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Manitoba. Shawn has 12 years of experience in practice working within a wide range of project types, from small to large residential, institutional, industrial, and commercial projects which include both new builds and renovations.

Shawn’s portfolio of work includes award-winning projects situated in North Western Ontario.   Shawn is a partner at Boreal Architecture Studio with offices in both Winnipeg, Manitoba and Kenora, Ontario.  Much of their work is in collaboration with Indigenous communities.  Current indigenous works include the design of an administration complex, skatepark and a healing space exploring a careful interplay between cultures.

Shawn is a native of Kenora, Ontario and was raised in a remote area on Lake of the Woods. Being situated within a rich natural context provided him with sensitivity and a respect towards nature.  Shawn’s work seeks inspiration from his relationship with the natural environment.  He believes the method for seeking an architectural understanding that reanimates our sensory world in relation to nature is one that embraces reciprocity over prescription.

Shawn has also explored material research and digital fabrication. He is interested in exploring  digital technology in more intuitive ways that inform making.  The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:MIT has conducted a series of workshops based on the material research from his design thesis.  Shawn is proficient in Building Information Modelling (BIM) as well as algorithmic modelling software such Grasshopper.

Kamni Gill
Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture

Originally from Calgary, Kamni has worked as a landscape architect in Boston and Lausanne after graduating from the  University of Pennsylvania.

Most recently, Kamni worked in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. There she has focused on the craft of landscape architecture as editor of “Thinking Eye”, the visual methodology section of the Journal of Landscape Architecture.

Her teaching and research emphasizes experimental methods of landscape architecture and cultural conceptions of ecology as a human habitat and as an elemental process. Kamni sees trees as a minimal but powerful tool of landscape architects that can express a new poetics and politics of the cities. Recently, Kamni published a paper exploring the spatial and cultural qualities of the grove as interpreted by Aldo Van Eyck, Wm Boer and Mien Ruys in the Journal of Garden History and Designed Landscape and has developed a teaching practice based on urban tree planting types.  

At the University of Manitoba, Kamni will develop the same interest in the raw material of landscape architecture. through a research project Earth Moves that focuses on the structure of urban ground and its social, aesthetic and ecological implications and through the teaching of grading and site morphology. 



, ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341