Write On.

Generating connections and thoughtful discourse on spatial practice in the city

The Write On critical workshop supports the time to develop capacities and to encourage the attention so that we can articulate the meaning and experience of urban form.

This program is open to professional and aspiring writers in Alberta: artists and architects, as well as those with backgrounds in film, digital media, theatre, public art, planning, urbanism, anthropology and geography are invited to explore a contemporary means of expressing visual form. It’s about words. And about explorative, provocative thinking. 

Participate in three workshops, two critical sessions and receive one-on-one mentorship to shape your writing. Connect with peer critical thinkers and learn how to situate your writing within the publishing industry. 

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Rozsa Foundation for making this series possible. We are also delighted to partner with SITE Magazine on this program.


2019 workshops led by:

Nancy Tousley (July) is a Senior Art Critic, Arts Journalist and Independent Curator. The former art critic of the Calgary Herald, she is a contributing writer to Canadian Art, Border Crossings, and other art magazines. Her essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in newspapers, magazines and more than 50 public art gallery and museum catalogues and books. Her work as a curator has been commissioned by art institutions across Canada. “A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Painting of Levine Flexhaug,” a book and exhibition project that she co-edited and co-curated with Peter White, travelled nationally to five venues. Most recently she is curator of the ongoing One New Work exhibition series at the Glenbow Museum. Among other honours, she was the first Arts Journalist to receive a Governor General’s Award in Media and Visual Arts for her outstanding contribution to contemporary art in Canada

Julian Agyeman (video, October) is a critical urban planning and environmental social science scholar. His original concept of “just sustainabilities” calls attention to the overlooked link between social justice and sustainability. He is the author/editor of 11 books, including Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World, and editor of Speaking for Ourselves: Environmental Justice in Canada, exploring social equity and sustainability through the voices of Canadian scholars and activists of Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal descent. His next book, Immigration, Immigrants, Agriculture and Food in North America, will be published by MIT Press in early 2020. 

Despina Stratigakos (November) is a Canadian-born architectural historian, writer and serves as Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has written extensively on marginalized and alternative histories in architecture and is the author of: Where Are the Women Architects?, a probing of equity issues though the pop culture power of Architect Barbie and Wikipedia digital disappearances; Hitler at Home, an investigation of how the dictator remade his image through his domestic spaces; and A Women’s Berlin: Building the Modern City, a portrait of a forgotten female metropolis in the early twentieth century. She is currently writing Hitler’s Northern Utopia, a book about the Nazis’ building plans for occupied Norway.

2019 Listening Session:

Jared Tailfeathers (July) is a performance and interactive installation artist of Blackfoot heritage. A musician and musical instrument maker, his practice blends multi-media, narrative and conceptual design. He is the Program Coordinator for the Indigenous Placemaking Project at the Calgary Public Library, a project that involved coordinating a collaborative work of art by six Indigenous artists connected to Treaty 7 territory that is featured in the New Central Library. He curated AlterNATIVE: Balance produced by EMMEDIA featuring artists finding a position of balance between tradition and contemporary practice. He is a member of the Indigenous Performance Arts Alliance.

2019 Mentors:

Victoria Baster is a faculty member in the Department of Art at the University of Lethbridge where she introduces the Architecture & Design NOW and Art NOW series of public presentations by invited speakers. She is also an independent curator and was co-curator of LETHBRIDGE MODERN: aspects of architectural modernism in Lethbridge from 1945-1970, organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

Lev Bratishenko is Curator, Public, at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, where he produced “Come and Forget”, a series of speculative historical erasures, and “How to: not make an architecture magazine”, a manual for avoiding publishing, among other projects. He has written for Cabinet, the CBC, Gizmodo, Icon, Maclean’s, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Opera Canada, Opera News, Uncube and others. He was classical music critic for the Montreal Gazette and Online Editor-in-Residence at Abitare, an USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and a National Magazine Award nominee for his Literary Review of Canada essay “Jane Jacobs’s Tunnel Vision”.

Elsa Lam is editor of Canadian Architect magazine.  She holds a doctorate in architectural history and theory from Columbia University, completed under the supervision of Kenneth Frampton and Vittoria di Palma. Lam has written extensively for architecture and design magazines, as well as collaborating on the editing and writing of several books. Previous to her role at Canadian Architect, she worked with the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. She is the co-editor of the book Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967 to the present, to be released by Princeton Architectural Press and Canadian Architect this November.

Alexandra Lange is the architecture critic for Curbed and author of The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids, named one of Planetizen’s Top 10 Urban Planning Books of 2018. She has written for Architect, Harvard Design Magazine, Metropolis and T Magazine, as well as New York Magazine, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. She has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts with the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary as well as the New York Press Club Award for Feature Reporting – Internet for her Curbed story, “No Loitering, No Skateboarding, No Baggy Pants,” on teens and public space.

Graham Livesey is a Professor in the Master of Architecture Program (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape) at the University of Calgary. He has written and edited extensively on modern architecture and urbanism, with two books of essays (including the recently published Ecologies of the Early Garden City) and two large architectural anthologies for Routledge. He is the co-editor (with Elsa Lam) of the book Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967 to the Present published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2019. He is a regional correspondent for Canadian Architect magazine. In 2019 he was elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Susanne Schindler is an architect and historian focused on the intersection of policy and design in housing. She is currently a visiting lecturer at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and co-directs the MAS program in the history and theory of architecture at ETH Zurich. From 2013 to 2016, Susanne was lead researcher and co-curator of the research and exhibition project House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate at Columbia University, and co-author of The Art of Inequality. In her current book project, based on her doctoral research at ETH Zurich, Susanne analyses how the little-known and largely discredited Model Cities program played out in New York in the late 1960s and set the stage for many housing practices still with us today. Susanne writes regularly for a range of publications, including Urban Omnibus, the online journal of the Architectural League of New York. 

Diana Sherlock is is a Canadian independent curator, writer and educator whose projects create opportunities for contemporary artists to produce new work in response to specific collections, contexts, histories and cultures of display. She has published over 80 texts in gallery catalogues and contemporary art journals internationally including Canadian Art, BorderCrossings, CMagazine, FUSE, Blackflash, Ceramics Art and Perception, .dpi Feminist Journal of Art and Digital Culture and The Calgary Herald. Sherlock is Editor of Rita McKeough: Works, a monograph about Canadian artist Rita McKeough’s performances and installations, forthcoming in the fall of 2018. 

Sessions will take place in the afternoon on:

  • July 12, 2019

  • July 13, 2019

  • October 25, 2019

  • October 26, 2019

  • November 16, 2019