LSU Art & Design Commits to Inclusion

The College of Art & Design has been working to address systematic racism on campus and throughout the fields of architecture, art, landscape architecture, and interior design, to promote inclusivity for LSU students, faculty, and staff.

This semester, the college’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee of staff, faculty, and students has been working with the four schools in the College of Art & Design to help promote diversity and inclusion across the disciplines. Events focused on these topics include:

On Friday, November 6, 2020, College of Art & Design faculty and staff attended the Racism Untaught workshop, a virtual conference led by educators Terresa Moses and Lisa Mercer. The workshop used the design research process to assist participants in identifying racialized design and critically assessing anti-racist design approaches.

The workshop’s goal is to facilitate opportunities in academia and within organizations to further explore issues of race and racism, by: critically analyzing and identifying artifacts of Racialized Design; shared experiences of microaggressions and implicit bias; and systematic forms of racism and how we and our culture perpetuate them.

“I am grateful to have participated in this experience where faculty and staff from College of Art & Design came together to reflect on their identity and consider how power, privilege, and marginalization impact experience in our everyday lives,” said Marsha Cuddeback, Director of the School of Interior Design.

Faculty from the Schools of Architecture, Art, Interior Design, and Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture participated in the workshop, working in teams to address racialized design challenges relevant to the LSU community. Workshop participants explored topics such as identity, privilege, oppression, stereotypes, and discussed some of the many challenges that marginalized communities face routinely. Through these exercises, the organizers note, the art & design faculty are better prepared to address instances of racism in the future.

“How can we, as educators, intervene to make sure the design process is anti-racist?” Mercer posed the question to participants.

Students will have the opportunity to explore racialized design concepts in class as well. “In the spring, our School is looking forward to integrating the Racism Untaught toolkit in a junior design studio,” Cuddeback said.

In addition to integrating the Racism Untaught framework into the interior design curriculum this spring, there are also numerous events this year for LSU Art & design students that are designed to address diversity and inclusion. These include Strategies to Fight Racism events, design studios focused on current events and topics, and design student organization-organized meetings focused on these issues.

Additionally, the LSU Art & Design Virtual Lecture Series 2020-21 theme is diversity and inclusion in art and design, drawing speakers from a wide range of disciplines and expertise to educate students and faculty about topics such as “Equitable Communities” (by Kia Weatherspoon, Determined by Design Founder) and “Racial and Spatial Justice” (by Liz Ogbu, designer, urbanist, and spatial justice activist.)

Among the lecture series 2020-21 speakers are: Michael Ford, “The Hip Hop Architect”, Brandnu Design; Kunlé Adeyemi, world-renowned Nigerian architect & designer; Jamie Maslyn Larson, PLA ASLA, Director of Landscape Architecture at Bjarke Ingels Group, who spoke about gender equity; and artist Trenton Doyle Hancock.

Read about the School of Interior Design’s commitment to diversity & inclusion.