The Black in Design Conference is a brilliant example of the power of students as change makers. In 2015, a group of students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) began to envision a space where contributions and experiences of people of color were discussed and celebrated- a space they felt hadn’t previously existed. With help from the African American Student Union and countless other students, faculty, and professionals, the first Black in Design Conference was held in October of 2015.
The creators of the Black in Design Conference aim to create a venue in which all people- from scholars to highschool students- feel comfortable discussing the past and current racial inequalities seen in political and social cultures in America. Speakers at the Conference include numerous well-known professionals from diverse disciplines. Many are there to discuss what we as designers and activists can do to address the barriers that continue to exist for people of color.
The Black in Design Conference has inspired numerous programs, ranging from BlackSpace – a network of African-American planning and policy professionals- to the African American Design Nexus – Harvard’s attempt at creating a canon of important contributions of African American designers. The Conference has received recognition as an empowering movement of students discovering ways that design can promote equality.