Game Changing Exhibit in the Exchange
Equity in architecture was on display for First Fridays in the Exchange District on Sept. 2, 2022.
Showcased at the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, the exhibition celebrated early women graduates from UManitoba’s Faculty of Architecture, and highlighted topics of diversity and inclusion beyond binaries, beyond borders and toward Indigenous sovereignty.
The display is part of an ongoing research project entitled, “Unstacking the Deck: A Game of Change,” consisting of a double deck of playing cards, each honouring an early woman designer in Manitoba. Led by Prof. Lisa Landrum, in collaboration with the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, the project involves students and alumni, as well as artwork by Ojibwe artist Jackie Traverse.
In addition to enlarged prints of the playing cards, the exhibition included reproductions of archival documents, providing enticing (if partial) details on the women.
Arranged to resemble a working archive, this interactive display was created by Environmental Design student Alina Bilonozhko, who has been assisting Dr. Landrum, with the support of a University of Manitoba Undergraduate Research Award.
Alina organized documentary evidence, including newspaper clippings, letters, photos, yearbook pages and journal articles, all of which shed light on the women’s life, work, and achievements.
Since only a few women included in the exhibition became established professionals, most are not well known. In some cases, the University of Manitoba’s Brown & Gold yearbooks, convocation records, and brief mentions in the newspaper constitute all the information presently known about the women.
According to Prof. Landrum, “it has been especially touching and illuminating to hear from family members of women included in the deck, as well directly from some of the women themselves. It’s also heartening to see current students continuing the work of advocating for equity in design and planning fields.”
Alina adds: “It was most intriguing going through the archives and to connect with other scholars and archives across Canada and the U.S. to find more clues. It was exciting to read handwritten letters, to look at old newspapers, photographs, records and drawings, and to learn about the achievements and personal lives of these women.”
On display until Nov. 1, 2022, the exhibition shares work commenced in summer 2021 by Landrum and builds on ongoing research initiated by art historian Marieke Gruwel, who recently created the Manitoba Women in Design Database.
Unstacking the Deck includes a double deck of playing cards, custom box and 60-page mini research booklet. Sets can be purchased from the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, or by contacting Lisa Landrum.