Lacey McRae Williams is an artist, teacher and interdisciplinary land use planner.
She earned her Master of Urban & Regional Planning from Toronto Metropolitan University (then Ryerson) in 2012, and completed one year of graduate studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2016. She is currently teaching Community Design to graduate students at Vancouver Island University in the Master of Community Planning program and working for the City of Merritt as the director of planning and development services. For the past few summers, she has taught two core courses in the Professional Indigenous Lands Management Certificate Program – Indigenous Site Planning & Community Design and the Major Project.
Since 2010, upon moving from Victoria to Toronto, Lacey became curious about city building as a purposive means of concealing ecological and cultural histories. She began seeking out invisible landscapes, specifically lost rivers and buried streams, and used walking as a methodology for connecting to these ecologies. This work led her to environmental non-profit organisations like Lost Rivers Walks Toronto, where she volunteered for two years. As one of the youngest members of Lost Rivers, she brought a unique lens and approach to the work – using art to reach a broader audience. She co-created themed walks which drew two- and three-times more attendees than previous years.
While attending Emily Carr in Vancouver, she dedicated her studio work to tracing buried streams with artists, activists, water keepers and friends while using art as a tool for political awakening and attempted policy reform.
Whether it has been through moments of great loss and grief, or through celebrating moments of aliveness and monumental gratitude she has come to learn that this time spent is part of a spiritual journey, one that feels aligned and intentional and one she continues to seek out in each space she inhabits.