Virtual Exhibition: Where Are The Black Designers x Working Not Working
It's been a busy 12 months for the online platform Where Are The Black Designers. After gathering pace during the events of 2020 and the stark reality to the lack of equality in our industry, the initiative went from strength to strength, cumulating in a wonderful one-day live stream conference to over 10,000 attendees in June, and a growing Slack group of over 7,000 members. "Make no mistake: this is a movement, not a moment.", reads their mission statement, and they weren't wrong, as the latest stage of their journey launches; their first virtual exhibition in collaboration with Working Not Working.
"It started off as a conference to bring awareness of the obstacles that a Black person has to go through to even be considered a professional designer. Then, it became a conference to spotlight amazing Black creatives as well as discuss topics like allyship. Because we used Slack as a way for people to chat and react together throughout the conference, everyone just stayed in the channel afterward and then started doing their own thing. I was like, I'm going to roll with this.", says WATBD founder Mitzi Okou and artist Roshannah Bagley, in an interview with WNW (link below).
Over 250 submissions feature in the online gallery celebrating Black creatives, across 18 disciplines, and a multitude of experience-levels and ages. Every single submission has been included, each choosing an adjective to complete the question 'Black & ___’ alongside their work. From animators to industrial designers and photographers, the gallery is full of talent, and shouting proud. As Mitzi explains, "Going through some of the pieces and looking deeper felt like seeing their essays about what being Black means to them. It was just so beautiful, heartwarming, and emotional. I literally just wanted to scream because it was just so good and I'm just so glad that we get to share the work and that people trust us to amplify it."
What comes next is anyones guess, but you can count on another conference in June, as well as maintaining the ongoing conversation to level the playing field for Black creatives in our industry. We'll be keeping a close eye on it, and doing all we can to be a part of that solution too.
Huge congratulatons for a cracking collaboration with Working Not Working.
You can take a look at the virtual exhibition here:
Their interview with Working Not Working here:
And follow them on Instagram here:
Words: Joe Cooper