We’re honoured to announce the winner of our 2022 Michael Evamy Scholarship, Julia Johnston, a student pursuing her master’s degree at the Dalhousie University School of Architecture. Johnston was selected from a field of candidates across Canada, with the scholarship set to support her original research into the afterlives of abandoned gold mines along British Columbia’s Dewdney Trail.
Drawing on a deft understanding of local culture and colonial exploitation, Johnston’s study — titled The Alchemist’s Atlas: A Metamorphosis of the Anthropocene (through the Lens of Gold) — interrogates the ongoing transformation of Canadian landscapes, using the visual language of design to bring mining sites into the public consciousness. Combining a poetic architectural sensibility with rigorous social and political analysis of abandoned and active mining sites, Johnston’s research aims to increase awareness and drive accountability for Canadian mining practices, as well as the broader consequences of the Anthropocene.
Selected by a jury of DIALOGers, Johnston’s winning entry harnesses the architectural imagination as a powerful tool of translation and transformation — and a driver of potential policy changes. “Julia’s submission is brave and intriguing,” says jury member Nicole Moyo. “Her research will without a doubt, reveal untold narratives about the Southern border of British Columbia (gold mining trail) that will spark national interest.”
“With the support of DIALOG, I am able to pursue documentation of the Dewdney Trail in order to generate an Alchemist’s Atlas,” says Johnston, describing the project as “a prototypical index of manmade and natural objects which will cultivate speculative design fictions as a basis for reform through the prioritization of vulnerable voices above economically-motivated mapping.”
Alongside this year’s winning entry, DIALOG is also awarding an honourable mention to scholarship applicant Melissa Caron-Labrecque, a Master of Architecture student at the Université de Montréal. Carbon-Labrecque’s proposed research study, Refuge city, investigates how architecture can respond to global refugee crises, using a multi-media approach to examine the role of the built environment in creating inclusive spaces of refuge.
DIALOG established the Michael Evamy Scholarship Foundation to honour the memory of Michael Evamy, a partner instrumental in building its integrated practice from 1966 to 1993. Valued at $5,000, the award provides financial assistance to the selected students to undertake a research project within a field of study of their choice. In addition to the primary award, a secondary amount of up to $3,000 is available for project-related expenses, including travel.
The Michael Evamy Scholarship is available to all students attending a Canadian school of architecture in their penultimate year of study. Submissions to next year’s Michael Evamy Scholarship will open in January 2023.