Black in Architecture - capturing experiences, addressing racism

Monday, 26 July 2021

Black in Architecture

A new research community exploring racial equity in UK architecture is aiming to create an industry Charter and approach to help address race and systemic racism in architecture.

Black in Architecture, hosted by Oxford Brookes University this academic year, will capture the experiences of architects and architecture students who identify as Black or Black British, amplifying their voices through public events, workshops and exhibitions.

Founded in Summer 2020 after the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, Black in Architecture aims to work directly with practitioners, academics, students, architecture groups and organisations to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues relating to diversity in the profession.

Amplifying Black voices

PhD candidate and Architect, Juliet Sakyi-Ansah, is the founder of Black in Architecture and said: “I want Black in Architecture to directly influence change at decision-making levels by amplifying the voices of  those who experience systemic racism. I am passionate about architecture, but as an industry it needs to be more receptive to diversity. Now is the time to include all the voices and experiences of all ethnic minority groups in architecture.”

The Place, Culture and Identity research group at the School of Architecture will host the new research unit, Black in Architecture, for the next academic year. A symposium is planned in the Autumn to bring together practitioners, academics and students of architecture. Throughout the year the group will run a qualitative survey on race equity in architecture, alongside workshops, reading groups and an end of year exhibition.

Marcel Vellinga, Professor of Anthropology of Architecture, said: “Black in Architecture is an important initiative that gives a forum for a much-needed discussion. I hope it will help create a more inclusive field of architecture, and I’m delighted that Oxford Brookes is hosting this in its first year.”