Please meet the successful recipients of the RIFA Research Grant for Spring 2022.

The grant helps to fulfill one of our core mandates: to promote the professional development of our junior colleagues through mentorship and constructive feedback on their research during the adjudication process.

Menna Agha is an architect and researcher with the Azrieli School, promoting pedagogy and research in the newly established area of Design and Spatial Justice. Menna holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Antwerp, and a Master of Arts in Gender and Design from Köln International School of Design. In 2019/2020, she was the Spatial Justice Fellow and a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon. She is a third-generation displaced Fadicha Nubian, a legacy that infuses her research interests in race, gender, space, and territory. Among her publications are: Nubia still exists: The Utility of the Nostalgic Space; The Non-work of the Unimportant: The shadow economy of Nubian women in displacement villages; and Liminal Publics, Marginal Resistance.

Her research, in her own words: My proposed project is an Action Research that aims uncover possibilities of imagining the city otherwise. In this project, I follow in the footsteps of black feminist scholars and propound a project based on audacity, courage, and rigour to challenge, disrupt and heal embedded and ongoing spatial injustices. the project aspires on moving the design-build model away from its charitable position and explore its role as a relational device, one that aims to inflict systemic change instead of being analgesic in its function. I build on intersectional feminist knowledge to explore the role and possibilities of architectural education, namely service-learning modules, in engaging with patterns of spatial injustice in cities profoundly and materially disrupt systems of private property, racialization, gentrification, and heteropatriarchy as they manifest in the built environment.


Dr. Manjeet Birk (she/her) is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies and teaches in the newly established Critical Race Studies minor program. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work centres the lived experience of racialized and Indigenous girls and women in Canada. Her research focuses on women’s organizing, social justice and institutional racism using critical race, intersectional and decolonizing theories and methodologies. Her interests are grounded in her community activism working with women’s organizations locally, nationally and internationally. With a lifetime of experience organizing, troubling and challenging systems, Manjeet is always looking for new ways to re-conceptualize a more beautiful world.

Manjeet’s RIFA funded project entitled “EDI or Bust: Are university equity, diversity and inclusion policies working?” looks at Carleton University’s policies to see if they are serving their intended outcome.  EDI or Bust questions the ways in which race and its intersections are addressed on campus and as such how these societal challenges are supporting/ marginalizing the racialized and Indigenous staff, students and faculty it is intended to support.