When the MED Working Group was launched in June of 2020, it joined forces with activists, educators and students in and beyond the academy to further an evolving set of conversations about the destructive whiteness of our institutional and professional practices. In addition to exposing racism, the group worked to expose the fallacy of white invisibility and neutrality.
Allied with other groups around the GSAPP statement “Unlearning Whiteness”, the MED group conducted a series of roundtable discussions, lectures, and participatory events. The Working Group for Anti-Racism addressed the thematic areas of Policing, Archive, and the Commons in the Fall’20 semester. Featured guests included Philip V. McHarris, Jaime Amparo Alves, the Black students for Disarmament at Yale, Arissa Hall, Lauren Hudson, Sunny Iyer, Dan Taeyoung, Rachel Vainsky, Mel Isidor, Amrita Raja and Cierra Chenier.
The group hosted two events during Spring ‘21, both focused on issues of race and space. One was the BIPOC in the Built Virtual Wikipedia Edit-a-thon— a weeklong event supported by the Yale and MIT libraries, which invited the public to participate in creating and/or editing Wikipedia pages for BIPOC individuals and collectives who have left a mark on the fields of art, architecture, art history, graphic design, activism, landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, and dance. This matrix of online creative exchanges worked to correct the current underrepresentation of BIPOC practitioners on Wikipedia. The second event sought to collaborate, support and elevate the work of Yale School of Architecture’s Indigenous Scholars of Architecture, Planning and Design (ISAPD) student group. Together ISAPD and the MED Working Group for Anti-Racism invited Dr. Gregory Cajete for an evening lecture series on “Native Astronomy and Spatial Resonance.” Dr. Cajete’s generous lecture and subsequent Q+A session brought concepts of indigenous spatial practices, native science, and symbolism into dialogue with contemporary approaches to the built environment.
This year the Working Group plans to expand ongoing conversations on racial justice and spatial practices by considering the global solidarity that is emerging from multiple struggles linked to race, apartheid, occupation, and environmental collapse. The aim is to revisit, reimagine and renegotiate spatial practices from a place of collective healing and justice. The MED Working Group will also continue to build a list of resources for YSoA students, including an anti-racism reading list and an archive of 2021-2022 Yale courses focusing on racial justice. The MED homepage— located in the School of Architecture website —also hosts our website with continuous updates about MED - sponsored events during the academic year. As in the previous year, the MED Working Group will maintain its collaborative efforts with allied organizations and friends of YSoA.