The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection

The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection

The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection

The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection


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The Black Experience in Design spotlights teaching practices, research, stories, and conversations from a Black/African diasporic lens.

Excluded from traditional design history and educational canons that heavily favor European modernist influences, the work and experiences of Black designers have been systematically overlooked in the profession for decades. However, given the national focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the aftermath of the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, educators, practitioners, and students now have the opportunity—as well as the social and political momentum—to make long-term, systemic changes in design education, research, and practice, reclaiming the contributions of Black designers in the process.

The Black Experience in Design, an anthology centering a range of perspectives, spotlights teaching practices, research, stories, and conversations from a Black/African diasporic lens. Through the voices represented, this text exemplifies the inherently collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of design, providing access to ideas and topics for a variety of audiences, meeting people as they are and wherever they are in their knowledge about design. Ultimately, The Black Experience in Design serves as both inspiration and a catalyst for the next generation of creative minds tasked with imagining, shaping, and designing our future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621537854
Publisher: Allworth
Publication date: 02/01/2022
Pages: 600
Sales rank: 281,099
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Anne H. Berry is a writer and educator whose research focuses on race/representation in the field of design. Her writing has been published in AIGA’s Eye on Design, Communication Arts, and the inaugural issue of the anthology Recognize featuring essays and commentary from indigenous people and people of color. 
Kareem Collie is a designer, strategist, and educator specializing in collaborative and human-centered design approaches to capture, reveal, and produce visual and experiential narratives. He holds a master’s degree from NYU in culture and communication studies and a bachelor’s in fine arts from Pratt Institute in communication design.
Penina Acayo Laker is a designer and educator whose practice and research is centered around topics that utilize a human-centered approach to solving social problems, locally and internationally. She is currently broadening the scope and access of design education to young people in Uganda through her DesignEd workshops. 

Dr. Lesley-Ann Noel focuses on equity, social justice, and the experiences of people who are often excluded from design education, research and practice. She promotes greater critical awareness among designers and design students by introducing critical theory concepts and vocabulary into the design studio e.g. through The Designer’s Critical Alphabet and the Positionality Wheel. 
Jennifer Rittner is a writer and educator. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design. Her work has been published in the New York TimesDMI: JournalAIGA Eye on Design, and Core77; and in 2021 served as guest editor for a special issue on Design & Policing for Design Museum magazine. Jennifer earned her B.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at New York University and her M.Ed. in Communication and Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Kelly Walters is a designer, educator and founder of the multidisciplinary design studio Bright Polka Dot. Her ongoing design research interrogates the complexities of identity formation, systems of value, and the shared vernacular in and around Black visual culture. She is the author of Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race published by Princeton Architectural Press. Kelly is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the BFA Communication Design Program at Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York.

Table of Contents

Foreword Emory Douglas 13

Ruha Benjamin 16

0 - 0.4 Introduction

Why Is This Book Needed? Anne H. Berry 22

Searching for a Black Aesthetic in American Graphic Design Sylvia Harris 27

On Sylvia Harris: The Contributions of Black Designers Anne H. Berry Steven Heller 33

Designing with Complexity: An Intersectional View Jennifer Rittner 37

1 - 1.7 Design Practices

Chapter Introduction Kareem Collie 48

An Exhibition by Black Designers Dorothy Hayes 52

In Conversation: Darhil Crooks, Ian Spalter & Dantley Davis on Practicing Design While Black Kareem Collie 64

Another Brick in the Wall R. Vann Graves 74

The Four Pillars Jon Key 78

To Be Just … Steward: Some life Lyrics Quinlin B. Messenger 84

In Conversation: Annika Hansteen-Izoia on Identity, Community & Authenticity Jennifer Rittner 100

2 - 2.7 Design Education

Chapter Introduction Anne H. Berry 116

In Conversation: Maurice Woods & Anne H. Berry on Meeting the Demands of the Future 120

The New Visual Abnormal Colette Gaiter 128

Unvisible (What's the Scenario?) Steve Jones 140

The Strong Black Woman Terresa Moses 148

A Reading List for the Politics of Design Chris Rudd 160

Beyond the Universal: Positionality & Promise in an HBCU Classroom Kaleena Sales 170

3 - 3.6 Design Scholarship

Chapter Introduction Lesley-Ann Noel 178

Follow the Golden Ratio from Africa to the Bauhaus for a Cross-Cultural Aesthetic for Images Audrey G. Bennett 182

The Pause: Reflecting on a Righteous Consciousness that Informs Our Design as Afrikans Nii Kommey Botchway 204

Finding Anthony: Establishing a Research Trajectory Cheryl D. Miller 214

Bondage by Paper: Devices of Slaveholding Ingenuity Alicia Olushola Ajayi 218

At the Jim Croix Museum, We Use Racist Objects to Engage Hearts & Heads in Social Justice David Pilgrim 232

4 - 4.9 Activtsim, Advocacy & Community-Engaged Design

Chapter Introduction Kareem Collie Penina Laker 244

Participatory & Emanicipatory Aspirations in Afrika Mugendi K. M'Rithaa 246

From the Black Anti-Ableist Diary: A Tribute to My Black Disabled Son from a Black Disabled Mother Jennifer White-Johnson 258

The Infrastructure of Care: Community Design, Healing & Organizational Post-Traumatic Growth Sloan Leo 264

The Center in the Margins: Locating Intimacy in Multi-Communities June A. Grant 270

Biophilia Patterns in Black & Brown Spaces Michele Y. Washington 278

In Conversation: Amos Kennedy & Kareem Collie on Advocating for Humanity 288

The Preconditions to Healing Liz Ogbu 296

In Conversation: Raja Schaar & Jennifer Rittner on Sustainability as a Historically Black Practice 300

5 - 5.6 Afrofuturism in Design

Chapter Introduction Lesley-Ann Noel 320

From Algorithms to Afro-Rithms in Afrofuturism Lonny Avi Brooks 324

A Black-Centered Design Ethos: Engaging Afrofuturism in Catalyzing More Inclusive Technological Futures Woodrow W. Winchester III 342

What Type of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? Adah Parris 348

Black Secret Technologies John Jennings 358

Dark Matter's Magic in Design Folayemi Wilson 364

6 - 6.8 Journeys in Design

Chapter Introduction Kelly Walters 374

The Black Designer's Journey: Theory of Change Yocasta Lachapelle 376

In Pursuit of a Prismatic Profession Forest Young 384

&&&: Provoking Type Schessa Garbutt 392

1 Word / 1 Object Former and Current Design Students 402

Curating My Way into Design: A Work in Progress Michelle Joan Wilkinson 420

My Journey to Design Sabine Maxine Lopez 438

Moving On: Interview with White Mole Academic Aisha Richards 446

7 - 7.6 Design = Art ≠ Design

Chapter Introduction Kelly Walters 456

In Conversation: Nontsikelelo Mutiti & Kelly Walters on Image Making, Conceptual Process, and the Tools of Design 458

In Conversation: Cey Adams & Kelly Walters on Design Detours & Artistic Possibilities 466

Design (Is) Art. If You Want It to Be. Rick Griffith 474

In Conversation: Mimi Onuoha & Romi Morrison on Unsettling the Equivalents 484

In Conversation: Rhea L. Combs & Anne H. Berry on Representing Everyday Black Lives through Film & Photography 496

8 - 8.7 Collective, Radical & Liberatory Spaces in Design

Chapter Introduction Lesley-Ann Noel 504

Far colored girls who feel trapped in white institutions Lauren Williams 506

The Black Student Union Terrence Moline 510

Make the Path by Talking Maurice Cherry 518

Building BADG: The Guild as a Model for Liberatory Space Malene Barnett 524

Designer Profile: Ari Melenciano Lesley-Ann Noel Anne H. Berry 532

This Is Our Time! adrienne maree brown on Design, Liberation, and Transformation as told to Lesley-Ann Noel 538

Guiding Questions 545

Glossary 560

Letter to Future Designers Penina Laker 567

On Writing & Editing this Book Jennifer Rittner Anne H. Berry 570

Afterword Eddie Opara 573

Bios 576

Acknowledgments 591

Index 596

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