Social Injustice…Underrepresentation…Discovering Our Role

The Black in Design conference, organized by the African American Student Union (AASU) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), seeks to simultaneously broaden the scope of what is included in the design discipline and to open a discussion about the historical, present and future contributions of African descendants to the field.

On October 9-10, 2015, the inaugural conference will align design students, architecture and urban planning faculty and an array of allied design practitioners with professional organizations from a broad range of discipline.  It is the pleasure of the Boston Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (BosNOMA) to assist in this effort, as the conference mission is congruent with NOMA’s strengths: promoting urban and other disenfranchised communities, highlighting excellence and achievements of Blacks and other minorities and wrestling with the dilemmas that face this nation.  Throughout the conference, thematic sessions regarding social, spatial and environmental justice highlight the imperatives placed on placemaking done responsibly.   

According to the conference organizers, the hope is that through an exploration of what it means to be Black and work in the field of Design in the past as well as today, to expand the definition of design beyond architecture, landscape architecture and planning. Among the numerous other industries that engage and make meaningful contributions to design we are most interested in exploring contributions from film, music, visual arts, publishing, fashion and technology, in addition to the disciplines already explored by the GSD.  

Please see more information about registration, sponsorship opportunities, and the conference schedule here:
Vaughn Horn, member, co-author


Harvard GSD AASU Black in Design Conference

Join us for Harvard’s first

Black in Design Conference

October 9-10, 2015
Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Gund Hall

Organized by the GSD – African American Student Union

Register before 9/15

Join us for a two day discussion of race, space and design in the Black community!

The Black in Design Conference, organized by the African American Student Union (AASU) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) seeks to simultaneously recognize the contributions of African Descendants to the design field and to broaden our definition of what it means to be a designer. We believe that initial steps towards addressing social injustice within design are to include the histories of underrepresented groups in design pedagogy, and to implicate designers as having a role in our broken built environment.

Dedicated to the pursuit of just and equitable spaces across all scales, this conference has been organized to broach conversations in increasing orders of magnitude: the building, the neighborhood, the city, the region, and the globe. We hope that this conference will serve to more deeply ingrain compassion for human beings into the ethos of design more broadly, as well as to instill a sense of responsibility within those who pass through the doors of the GSD.

BiD Postcard

BiD Flyer

BiD Sponsorship Guide

Scholarships & Grants


More information available soon.


Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architectural Scholarship Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation
ZGF is a nationally recognized architecture, planning, and interior design firm with a long commitment to the critical collaboration of architectural education and professional practice. In place since 2004, this scholarship is intended to recognize and foster students who have demonstrated a talent and passion for architecture.
$10,000 will be awarded to one scholarship recipient; a currently enrolled student, entering their final year in a graduate or undergraduate level, NAAB accredited, architecture program in the fall of 2017.
In addition to the financial award, a summer 2017 internship in one of the firm’s office locations will be offered to the scholarship recipient. The deadline is February 1, 2017 with the scholarship recipient selected no later than March 1, 2017.
Funds will be awarded in September for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Application form and additional information is available at:

Member Bio: Jamar Moore


Jamar Moore was born and raised in the coastal city of Hampton, Virginia. While attending the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, Moore, along with a friend, helped revitalize a dormant NOMAS Chapter into an organization where designers of various majors, ethnicities and year levels could discuss the important issues of their education as well as provide guidance and mentorship. Currently, NOMAS at UVa is 30+ members strong and have competed in the 2014 Student Competition at the NOMA National Conference with plans to compete and place in the 2015 Competition. Currently, Moore is a Designer at ICON architecture in Boston, MA and sees BosNOMA as his home away from home. Through BosNOMA, he plans to continue to work with students of all ages to help guide them to a career in design. Along with architecture, Moore is an avid urban photographer who strives to capture how people interact with the built environment.

Member Bio: Perla Durandis

Durandis_HeadshotPerla Durandis was born in Providence, RI and raised in Massachusetts. Being interested in art and design at a young age, she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to apply her artistic talents to develop communities and positively impact lives. Durandis’ passion for architecture is rooted in innovative design and community service.  During her spare time, Durandis works on starting an organization called Revive My Turf, a Christian-focused ministry aimed towards helping the youth in underprivileged areas to apply their artistic skills within their community. Durandis received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and later her Master of Architecture from Andrews University.

Member Bio: Racquel Davey

rdavey_headshotRacquel Davey is an architect and LEED accredited professional at ICON architecture. She is currently co-chair of the National Organization of Minority Architects for the Boston chapter. Davey is a designer that values both interior environments and technical coordination, and she focuses on institutional projects within existing buildings that explore creative, yet sustainable and historically sensitive design solutions. Davey is an advocate for collaborative design strategies that encompass space planning, furniture systems and technology, and is interested in new trends that can be pragmatically applied within academia. Her architectural studio experience in Brazil, Chile and China has informed her sense of not just working for people, but working with people, which has been fundamental in building client relations and achieving project successes. Davey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Tufts University and Master of Architecture degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Boston Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects