Sep/29 Lecture
Natchee Blu Barnd, Susan Blight, and Wil Patrick. Moderated by Catherine D'Ignazio

Unsettling Settler Space with Natchee Blu Barnd, Susan Blight, and Wil Patrick

2021 Urbanism Fall Lecture Series
Wednesday, 29-September, 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST

Co-hosted by the City Design & Development Program (CDD), SMArchS Urbanism Program, MIT Data + Feminism Lab, and Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT.

This lecture will be streamed online here. The webcast link includes a section where you can submit questions to the speaker for the Q&A period in real time.

Please join us for a panel discussion on the roles that place names play in sustaining and contesting settler colonialism as well as claiming and creating space for Indigenous peoples. Natchee Blu Barnd's book, Native Space (OSU Press, 2017) illustrates the ways that Native people in North America sustain and create Indigenous geographies in settler colonial nations. Susan Blight is the co-founder of Ogimaa Mikana, an artist collective working to reclaim and rename the roads and landmarks of Anishinaabeg territory. And Wil Patrick explores the role of colonial monuments and infrastructures in the production of political spaces in Canada to understand how settler groups utilize monumentality in place-making. Each guest will give a short presentation of their work followed by a panel discussion.

Natchee Blu Barnd, Susan Blight, and Wil Patrick. Moderated by Catherine D'Ignazio

Natchee Blu Barnd is a comparative and critical ethnic studies scholar interested in the intersections between ethnic studies, cultural geography, and Indigenous studies. His research focuses on issues of race, space, and Indigenous geographies. His book, Native Space: Geographic Strategies to Unsettle Settler Colonialism (OSU Press, and the First Peoples series) illustrates the ways that Native people in North America sustain and create Indigenous geographies in settler colonial nations. His second book, A People's Guide to Portland and Beyond (pre-contract with UC Press), highlights lesser known sites of social justice and oppression across the city of Portland. He also writes on pedagogy, cartography, contemporary media, college cultural centers, and popular culture. His writing has appeared in Cartographica, Mobilities, e-flux Architecture, American Indian Culture and Research Journal and more. He is an Associate Professor at Oregon State University.

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. In August 2019, Susan joined OCAD University as Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and as Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Wil Patrick is a W̱ENITEM (settler) PhD Candidate in the Critical Geographies Research Lab at the University of Victoria and Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholarship recipient on unceded SON̠IS and W̠SÁNEĆ Territory. Wil is interested in studying the cultivation, maintenance, and defence of political infrastructures towards the development of emancipatory spaces. Wil’s dissertation research explores the role of colonial monuments and infrastructures in the production of political spaces in Canada to understand how settler groups utilize monumentality in place-making, and how the challenging of settler infrastructures and implementation of Indigenous infrastructures contest settler place-holding and enact decolonization.

In addition, Wil examine the geography of local-self governance in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, focusing on the differing practices across space and between identity groups. Decades of conflict and distance from state-centres has created a complex landscape of political infrastructure. Wil critiques current frameworks for theorizing politics in Central Asia to approach regional governance on its own terms, in solidarity with local struggles and to support the region's autonomy. Wil translates and organizes with Afghan refugees and activists in the diaspora and in Afghanistan.

Catherine D'Ignazio is an Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is also Director of the Data + Feminism Lab which uses data and computational methods to work towards gender and racial equity, particularly as they relate to space and place. D'Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and hacker mama who focuses on feminist technology, data literacy and civic engagement. She has run reproductive justice hackathons, designed global news recommendation systems, created talking and tweeting water quality sculptures, and led walking data visualizations to envision the future of sea level rise.With Rahul Bhargava, she built the platform Databasic.io, a suite of tools and activities to introduce newcomers to data science. Her forthcoming book from MIT Press, Data Feminism, co-authored with Lauren Klein, charts a course for more ethical and empowering data science practices. Her research at the intersection of technology, design & social justice has been published in the Journal of Peer Production, the Journal of Community Informatics, and the proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI). Her art and design projects have won awards from the Tanne Foundation, Turbulence.org and the Knight Foundation and exhibited at the Venice Biennial and the ICA Boston. 

Prior to joining DUSP, D'Ignazio was an Assistant Professor of Data Visualization and Civic Media at Emerson College in the Journalism Department, taught for seven years in the Digital + Media graduate program at Rhode Island School of Design and did freelance software development for more than ten years. She holds an MS from the MIT Media Lab, an MFA from Maine College of Art, and a BA in International Relations (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Tufts University.  D'Ignazio speaks English, Spanish and French and has lived in Buenos Aires, Paris and Catalunya. She is a co-founder of the globally unknown spatial justice collective the Institute for Infinitely Small Things and an organizer with the Public Laboratory for Open Technology & Science. D'Ignazio is a proud board member of Indigenous Women Rising, an organization working to advance Native & Indigenous People’s inherent right to equitable and culturally safe health options.