On June 8th 2020, architecture and design organisations joined countless others to mark their alignment with the Black Lives Matter protest movement by responding to the hashtag BlackoutTuesday with a black square. For the most part, their anti-racist commitment started and ended there. At the same time, however, the initial meetings of Design As Protest and Dark Matter University began. In their words, “DAP is a collective of designers mobilizing strategy to dismantle the privilege and power structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression”. Emerging from DAP’s demand to create anti-racist models of design education, Dark Matter University is “an anti-racist design justice school,” which has since its establishment in early July 2020 independently expanded its network and mission to “radically transform education and practice toward a just future” from both inside and outside of academia.
For this episode, we talk with DAP and Dark Matter core member Quilian Riano about design justice. We address the response of architecture and design organisations to the Black Lives Matter movement (also addressed in DAP’s Anti-Racism Design Justice Index and a list of Blackout Tuesday responses compiled by FA in association with Migrants Bureau). We also discuss the importance of centring people, neighbourhoods and communities in the design process, as well as the role of design as a tool of displacement and, conversely, for re-imagining a just and liberated future. We then move on to evaluate the potential of community wealth-building, collective ownership and other alternative economic models, as well as workplace organising within the architecture and design professions.
– Quilian Riano is an architectural and urban designer, researcher, writer, educator, founder of DSGN AGNC, Assistant Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture, and until earlier this year he was Associate Director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. He’s also a board member of the Architecture Lobby, and a core member of Design as Protest and Dark Matter University.
This episode was directed by Charlie Clemoes.
Design as Protest National Call event (which this episode’s original release was timed to coincide with)
Article from Black Females in Architecture, Design as Protest, Failed Architecture, Migrants Bureau announcing the list: “Let’s Remind Architecture and Design Organisations of Their Support for Black Lives Matter”
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