• Emergent Grounds for Design Education
    Michelle Barrett & Chris Daemmrich

Student demands with annotations by attendees of the 2023 National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) National conference in Nashville, TN. Photo: Emergent Grounds for Design Education

Student, faculty, and alumni of design educational institutions organizing for racial justice since the summer of 2020 are the inheritors of powerful organizing traditions accessible to us through archival histories. Emergent Grounds for Design Education (EGDE) is a youthful archive of the present, for organizers of the future. EGDE digitally archives statements, posts, and letters from groups at over 50 design educational institutions across the United States and Canada. In their demands, these activists articulate an emergent antiracist, feminist future for design education. EGDE is a cogenerated catalogue of organizers’ writing, digital materials, interviews, and more—recording an activist moment as it becomes the foundation for future movements. EGDE propagates through gatherings of design students, faculty, and alumni, convening conversations, collecting content, and presenting it online.

Michelle Barrett, a queer, racialized Black woman, is an MArch graduate of Tulane University. She graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor's of science and while there received the Alpha Rho Chi award for her leadership, service, and promising professional merit. She has served as the national student representative on the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) executive board, founding president of the Kent State NOMA student chapter, and is currently on the board of the Kansas City NOMA chapter. In her role as a designer at Multistudio, she contributes to the entire project process from programming and schematic design through construction documentation and administration. Barrett’s responsibility as a design activist however, demands her to challenge her role as a practitioner, laborer, and mentor. Her work with Emergent Grounds for Design Education (EGDE) applies a participatory action research approach to redefine a pedagogical standard rooted in abolition and liberation.

Chris Daemmrich grew up in Austin, Texas on land taken by force from the Tonkawa people. He lives in New Orleans, on the land of the Chitimacha, Choctaw and Houma, and is a 2017 graduate of Tulane University with an MArch and a bachelor’s degree in political science. Daemmrich is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Design Thinking at Tulane University, and facilitates Collab, the Collaborative Design Workshop—a design justice research, education, and advocacy practice in New Orleans. He has worked for Wisznia, the AIA New Orleans, the New Orleans Architecture Foundation, the US Census Bureau, Mountain Climbers Consulting, and Colloqate Design. Daemmrich is a NOMA Project Pipeline mentor, serves on the board of NOMA Louisiana, a coordinator of the Architecture Lobby’s Racial Justice Working Group and a cofacilitator of Emergent Grounds for Design Education (EGDE).