Black in Architecture®

Architecture | Racial Equity

Black Lives Matter 2020: BiA story

Background: initiating #BlackinArchitecture #BLM

Black in Architecture® research was founded by Juliet Sakyi-Ansah as a summer project in 2020 and as part of The Architects’ Project. Juliet used the hashtag #BlackinArchitecture on Twitter platform following the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests of the that summer to invite people to share their experiences. The hashtag and the idea of learning from other people’s experiences was inspired by other #BlackInX movements, particularly #BlackintheIvory.

One year on, and with a more carefully considered longer-term programme, the initiative hopes to work directly with people, groups and organisations using ‘bottom up’ approaches. The vision is to directly influence change at decision-making level by creating the conditions and nurturing spaces for our voices to be heard, and for the education, practice, and other areas in architecture to open up for Black and Black British people. The initiative also intends to actively use shared learning practices to include the voices and experiences of all minority groups who are experiencing and navigating systemic racism in architecture.

Black in Architecture research is run as a /tap Collective project. /tap Collective is a collaborative research, design and development practice themed around The Architects’ Project.

Timeline: Key events between June 2020 and June 2021

Timeline — Black in Architecture 2020/21

Founder’s note

All work on the project paused on 13th August 2020 to allow for some critical reflection and to put wellbeing first. We had gathered about 25 different stories by this time. Sadly, this moment marked the end of the initial team working together.

Juliet resumed working on the initiative with more care and consideration for how to reach the goals of the project and with whom to do so with.

The ideas and work on the research, the charter and on the framework have been developed by Juliet. Please see our notes on the Background and Credits & Acknowledgements for more.

This initiative is intended to benefit an identified community group in architecture and in some way the wider architecture community. Black in Architecture has been registered as a trade mark for this reason. Please contact us for more on this and more about permissions to use any aspect of our work.

We are open to exploring other ways of working with people and we are dedicated to cantering our wellbeing in how we work.

Archive: from the old website to Medium publication

We have moved from the old website to Medium platform to help with managing resources and to keeping up with updates. The blog format will hopefully help to keep a narrative of the work. It will also be a way for us to build a research community on the topic of race in architecture. The images below were captured from the previous website.

Credits & acknowledgements: summer 2020 contributors

Thank you

To all the people who shared their experiences in architecture and provided us with the insight we now have.

To the initial team, formed by Juliet Sakyi-Ansah, for volunteering their time, labour and often their emotional and mental capacities to navigate through the stories shared with us. Thank you Michael Badu, Shade Abdul, Zubaydah Jibrilu, Wallace Erabu and Irvine Toroitich.

To the Architecture Foundation for hosting Black in Architecture Part 1 online event.

To Architecture is Political for featuring the initial summer 2020 team on their podcast series.

To the Twitter and Instagram followers for the follows, likes, shares and conversations. Special thanks to Juliet’s academic and professional network for joining in on the conversation when the hashtag was first launched on Twitter.

To Oxford Brookes University School of Architecture for welcoming Black in Architecture as an external and independent research unit.

We reference the ARB’s ethnicity breakdown for the term Black or Black British. The focus on Black and Black British people is owed to the Founder and Researcher of Black in Architecture identifying as Black British herself. She is an expert of her own experiences and not an expert on race. Her work is driven by her curiosity and motivation to help build better and fairer communities.