Student-led mentorship program encourages Black high school students to explore design skills

Black Students in Design (BSD), a student group within the Daniels Faculty at University of Toronto,  hosted an exhibition to celebrate the culmination of the first year of Building Black Success Through Design (BBSD).

Black Students in Design (BSD), a student group within the Daniels Faculty at University of Toronto,  hosted an exhibition to celebrate the culmination of the first year of Building Black Success Through Design (BBSD).

Black Students in Design group.

Developed by current Daniels Faculty students, the BBSD mentorship program guided seven Black Grade 11 students from across the GTA and one from Calgary through architecture and design concepts, tools, techniques and methods that can be applied to university applications and portfolios.

Participants in this 10-week program received one-on-one mentorship from Black architecture and design students to create final projects for the BBSD design competition. Mentees were guided through a series of design workshops, lectures and presentations that introduced sketches, digital drawings, a 3D digital model, a physical model and writing.

The showcase took place at Collision Gallery in downtown Toronto, on Saturday, March 26, 2022.  The event highlighted the work created by the inaugural cohort of BBSD mentees. The final submissions were juried by urban placemaker Jay Pitter, interior designer Kathryn Lawrence and Daniels Faculty sessional lecturer Otto Ojo.

“We wanted to give young Black designers the opportunity to experience the university environment, to build community with other Black peers, and to get a glimpse of what it might be like to pursue a career in design,” says Clara James, BSD Founder and President. “The showcase is a celebration of the incredible talent and commitment that the mentees brought to the program, and the potential that they represent not just within their cohort, but for all Black youth who want to become architects or designers in Canada.”

“I’m incredibly appreciative and proud of the Black Students in Design group. Its leadership is raising the bar, quickly mobilizing a program that is highlighting and encouraging Blackness in design, expanding accessibility and showing us how we can shape a new normal,” says Daniels Faculty Dean Juan Du.

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