Settler Colonial City Project

Location: Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago
Client: Settler Colonial City Project & Chicago Architecture Biennial
Scope: Exhibition Design
Progress/Year: 2019

“The Settler Colonial City Project is a research collective focused on the collaborative production of knowledge about cities on Turtle Island/North America as spaces of ongoing settler colonialism, Indigenous survivance, and struggles for decolonization.

The Chicago Cultural Center has been justly celebrated as a “people’s palace”: “it was made for everyone and welcomes everyone,” wrote renowned Chicago journalist M. W. Newman. This claim, echoed many times by many others, testifies to the Center’s enduring status as a public monument accessible to all. Given this status, the decision to locate the Chicago Architecture Biennial in the Chicago Cultural Center is entirely logical. This building for the people of Chicago, however, was only made possible by the extraction of land, labor, and resources from other people, near and far, in colonialist contexts. If the Chicago Cultural Center is a palace for Chicago’s people, then it is also an archive of the exploitation of colonized people whose land, labor, and resources yielded this palace’s constituent parts.”

— from Decolonizing the Chicago Cultural Center, SCCP. Read more ︎︎︎

At the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Settler Colonial City Project worked in partnership with the American Indian Center of Chicago. The following people and organizations were part of SCCP in Chicago:

Andrew Herscher (co-founder)
Ana María León (co-founder)
Future Firm
Emily Kutil
Tyler Schaafsma
Some All None
Christine Hwang
Linda Lee
Lei Nie
Anjelica Hope Perez

The following people contributed their knowledge and insight to the work of the project:

Ayala Levin, Northwestern University
John N. Low (Pokagon), Ohio State University
Heather Miller (Wyandotte), American Indian Center
Tim Samuelson, Chicago Cultural Center
Meredith TenHoor, Pratt Institute

The Settler Colonial City Project labors in the traditional territories of the Council of the Three Fires—the Ojibwe, the Odawa, and Potawatomi. We recognize Indigenous sovereignty, the ongoing effects of colonization and colonial state violence, and the global struggle for self-determination of Indigenous communities.