Renown diversity and design equity advocate Kia Weatherspoon, president of Determined by Design, joins the College of Architecture for the final Hyde lecture of the spring semester. She will present “Design Without Labels — Design Equity Strategies for All People” at 4 p.m. March 5 via Zoom.
During her lecture, Weatherspoon will explore how labels, descriptors and identifiers such as “senior, millennial, black, white, affordable and high-end” used in sales and marketing have essentially created a more polarized human experience and hindered creativity and design equity.
“These labels prevent design professionals from thinking outside of the box and providing the best possible solutions for clients,” Weatherspoon said. “Labels have made design seem out of reach for some people, when well-designed spaces should be a standard for all, not a luxury for a few.”
Weatherspoon will examine in detail the impact of labels, demographics and data on the design process. Through this presentation, she will challenge firms and design professionals to support an inclusive design process in order to properly reflect the communities they serve and inspire the next generation of designers and architects.
“Change is possible when difficult conversations happen,” Weatherspoon said. “By adjusting language and spearheading a more inclusive design process, architects and designers can create with empathy and develop thoughtful concepts that tell stories, connect people and unite communities.”
Through Weatherspoon’s practice, she has spent the last 15 years trying to change the narrative, making interior design a standard for all. She is challenging the lack of these standards in economically challenged communities. Her presence and leadership have created ripples, prompting housing developers, agencies and industry partners in economically challenged communities to not just take notice of her work — but to do better.
As an advocate and educator in business leadership, equity and diversity, Weatherspoon has been recognized as a HIP Designer for Good by Interior Design Magazine, a part of the Washington Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Class and the International Interior Design Association Luna Textile/ Anna Hernandez Visionary Award recipient.
This presentation is part of the College of Architecture’s 2020-2021 Hyde Lecture Series featuring speakers from across disciplines that are united under the common theme of “Building Justice — Design and Planning for a Just Society.” The college’s Hyde Lecture Series is a long-standing, endowed, public program. Each year the college hosts compelling speakers in the fields of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and planning that enrich the ongoing dialog around agendas which are paramount to the design disciplines and our graduates.