Designing Spaces of Solidarity and Support for Black Designers
In the 1960s, the Black Arts Movement created the template for how collective groups of multi-disciplinary Black artists could find solidarity and supportive resources for their individual and collective work. Within the design industry, while there have been many “mainstream” organizations and events that supported professionals in the field, more important for Black designers have been those initiatives that specifically centered our own voices, peers, and projects. Among them are: Afrotectopia, Black in Design at Harvard University, Design + Diversity, Design Futures (Public Interest Design Forum), Hue Design Summit, Institute of Black Imagination, Pivot, and Where Are The Black Designers. Each of these initiatives represents unique opportunities for Black designers to come together at the intersections of identity and their creative practices.

Founder: Ari Melenciano, ITP at New York University, NY, 2018
Initial Vision: “Create a space where socially-minded innovators could convene. A space to explore the possibilities when building at the intersections of art, design, technology, Black culture and activism for healthy Black futures.”
Activities: Metamorphosis, 2020 Fellowship, the School of Afrotectopia, 2019 Festival, Afrotectopia Summer Camp
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Antiracist Classroom and Reconstructing Practice
Founders: Lauren Williams, Bianca Nozaki-Nasser, and Godiva Veliganilao Reisenbichler, ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, CA
Initial Vision: “Committed to cultivating racial equity in art and design education, research, and practice . . . We see racial equity as the condition of freedom from racially determined experiences and life outcomes, as derived from an intentional and meticulous dismantling of white supremacist frameworks that undergird the institutions in which we operate.” The Antiracist Classroom was founded by Williams, Nozaki-Nasser, and Veliganilao Reisenbichler while they were graduate students at ArtCenter College of Design as a liberatory space to encourage artists and designers to discourse around race and injustice within the classroom setting. A key event that emerged from their work was the 2018 Reconstructing Practice conference, which brought together over a hundred participants to interrogate and share research and curricular and pedagogical practices that model an antiracist approach for design and art education.
Activities: Antiracist classroom, 2018 conference, Post-conference publications
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Black Artists + Designers Guild
Founder: Malene Barnett
Initial Vision: “A global collective of independent Black artists, makers and designers throughout the African diaspora. We are the creators and innovators behind the world's bespoke art, products and spaces for residential, commercial and hospitality environments.”
Activities: Design incubation lab, Community education and events, Job board, Creative Futures grant, exhibitions
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Black in Design at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
Founders: Harvard GSD African American Student Union with support from the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Loeb Fellowship at Harvard GSD, the Dean's Diversity Initiative at Harvard GSD, and H-OAP, Harvard University, Boston, MA, 2015
Initial Vision: “This conference has been organized to address social justice from the perspective of design, emphasizing the importance of compassion in the design ethos, and with the goal of recognizing the contributions of African descendants to the design field and, by so doing, to broaden the definition of the designer. A series of conversations including students, faculty, and invited guests will consider design at the scale of the building, neighborhood, city, region, and globe.”
Activities: Biennial conference features architects and designers from across the African diaspora.
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The Black School
Founders: Joseph Cuillier III and Shani Peters, New York, NY
Initial Vision: “An experimental art school teaching radical Black history.”
Activities: School, Design Studio, Annual Festival, and Schoolhouse
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Design + Diversity
Founders: Antionette Carroll and Timothy Hykes, St. Louis, MO 2016
Initial Vision: “Inspire, celebrate, and promote not only diversity in design, but the diversity of design.”
Activities: Annual conference and Fellows program.
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Ethel’s Club
Founder: Naj Austin, Brooklyn, NY
Initial Vision: “Create healing spaces, both virtually and IRL, that center and celebrate people of color through healing, creativity, and most importantly, joy.”
Activities: Digital Oasis, digital journal, 24/7 Channel
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Hue Design Collective**
Founders: Randall Wilson, Tiffany Ricks, and Alphonso Jordan, Atlanta, GA, 2017
Initial Vision: “Gather and serve Black designers from all disciplines; Challenge thinking and exchange ideas within their own circle of designers, colleagues and friends.”
Activities: Unconference and Hue Design Summit
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**Conference Spotlight: Hue Design Summit’s “Unconference”**
The HUE Collective set out to create an “unconference” that welcomed Black designers from all disciplines into a comfortable, safe space optimized for fellowship, learning, networking, and professional development. Emphasis was intentionally placed on casual experiences that were integral to establishing a strong sense of community.  “We walk into a home, some of us strangers, and leave as a family of Black designers,” said founding member Tiffany Ricks. “The bonds built over a weekend somehow transcend the experience itself. That motivates us to go back to the whiteboard and create something better than we did the year before.”

Institute of Black Imagination
Founder: Dario Calmese, New York, NY 2020
Initial Vision: “A Tribe of Mentors, from The Pool of Black Genius”
Activities: Podcast with Black creatives across disciplines.
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Pivot Conference
Founders: Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel, Tulane University, Dr. Renata Marques Leitão, OCAD University, Dr. Maria Mater de O’Neill, Rubberband Design Studio, Prof. Michele Y. Washington, Fashion Institute of Technology, Dr. Laura Murphy, Tulane University, Dr. Maille Faughnan, Tulane University, and Samantha Fleurinor, Tulane University; Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 2020
Initial Vision: “The purpose of a radical design practice is not to fix the Center, but to help to create a world with multiple centers—in which many realities can co-exist.”
Activities: Annual conference, Pluriverse Design SIG, PluriSIG Book Club, Decolonizing Design Reference Lists, Pluriversal Design Resource Library, Vimeo Discussions and Interviews
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Revision Path
Founder: Maurice Cherry, Atlanta, GA 2013
Initial Vision: “Weekly showcase of Black designers, artists, developers, and digital creatives from all over the world.”
Activities: Podcast, Job board
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Where Are The Black Designers
Founders: Mitzi Okou and Garrett Albury, New York, NY 2020
Initial Vision: “We exist to heal, support, amplify, and make space for the entire spectrum of Black creativity while also decolonizing design through education and wellness resources, events, partnerships, and collaborations.”
Activities: Annual conference, Poster call-out, Job board
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