Re: Race and Equity in Design and Craft #diversity #inclusion

Rodney Rojas

Hi Molly,
I think more frequent/recurring(?) informal Zoom discussions would be helpful and productive. I would very much like to participate in such discussions whenever possible. 


From: <> on behalf of Molly Sanford via <mws@...>
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2020 11:51 AM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [myssmc] Race and Equity in Design and Craft #diversity #inclusion
Thanks for sharing Annie, and for adding to the conversation, Ryan.

In response to your question, Annie, Why do you think there are so few discussions of racism on this platform of SSMC? I think part of the reason is the format. It's hard to have an open, vulnerable conversation with a group of strangers over an email forum which primarily discusses technical shop matters (which is, of course, useful). I really enjoyed putting faces to names for the first time at the DANDI (Diversity and Inclusion) conference, but we didn't get the chance to do that at the larger SSMC conference, which was a webinar format. I left the DANDI conference feeling heartened that so many of us are thinking about inclusion, equity and diversity and working to make our shops more welcoming, but that is not something I would have thought was going on based on conversations on the forum. I admit, I'm a bit averse to internet forums because of trolling. Perhaps the DANDI committee could think about hosting more regular, open forums where anyone can gather to talk over Zoom or something? To me, beyond planning the conference, the most valuable aspects of serving on the committee have been the informal conversations we've had and the community of support we've built for each other. I would love to extend that to the larger SSMC committee in some way.

Ryan's question, What methods or approaches have others in the group developed in order to leverage their privilege to empower others? This could be a good prompt for conversation. ;)

Would folks be interested in informal Zoom discussions like this? Any other ideas?


Molly Sanford
Fabrication Director, College of Design
Graduate Student, Arts & Cultural Leadership 
strategic | positivity | connectedness | futuristic | empathy

On Sat, Oct 10, 2020 at 6:44 PM Ryan D Mandell <rmandell@...> wrote:
Hi Annie,

Thanks for this.  I will check out the above event.

In the not so distant past I told myself, "I'm not a racist, so there's nothing I need to do." Thankfully, the fallacy and wrong-headedness of this conception has become clear after some difficult conversations with individuals more informed and conscientious than myself. It is precisely people like me, who enjoy the privilege and power that comes with being a white, hetero male who must do something.

Our micro conference was helpful, and I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to attend seminars on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice through my university.  It is only after this initial work that I am starting to become aware of my blindspots and my complicity in systemic racism through inactivity.

To directly answer your question, I think it is easy to be unaware, silent, and complicit in a homogenous environment.  Even since joining this organization a few years ago it seems that the constituency has improved in diversity, and I am thankful that we have individuals such as yourself who are outspoken on this topic, but there is still much work to be done.

In our roles we have the opportunity to train people of color and individuals who do not identify as male, so they can go on to secure equivalent positions after graduation. This is a clear way to address the lack of diversity and equity in our field, generally, and a means to improve the diversity of SSMC's constituency, specifically.  I don't intend to hijack this thread by any means, but I would like to add a question to Annie's: what methods or approaches have others in the group developed in order to leverage their privilege to empower others?  I would be very thankful to learn from others in this regard.

Best wishes,
Ryan Mandell
Director, Fabrication Labs
School of Art, Architecture + Design
Indiana University

Join to automatically receive all group messages.