Design Diversity started as an idea in late 2013 by a small group of Cleveland architects, urban designers, and graphic designers with an intention to grow the local community of African American and Latino designers. Many design fields, including architecture, graphic design, landscape architecture, urban design, and industrial design, are comprised of educational and professional environments where people of color are significantly underrepresented. This lack of diversity ultimately limits the creative responses available to address the growing needs in our communities. 

The name "Design Diversity" refers not only to the necessity to increase the number of underrepresented designers, but also connotes a directive; we must design diversity. The systemic change required to increase diversity representation is itself a design problem, one which requires as much creativity, exploration, and discovery as any other challenge a designer faces.  

Through self-initiated projects and in collaboration with existing organizations, our goal is to foster learning, influence growth, and promote people of color in the Design Professions in Northeast Ohio. 

In order to achieve the initiative's goal, Design Diversity will:

  • EDUCATE local communities, specifically youth, about the range of design careers available
  • CONNECT professionals across design disciplines to grow a thriving local community
  • CELEBRATE the accomplishments of people of color in the design professions and share their success stories

The Design Diversity initiative is led by an Advisory Committee, which meets monthly at Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. The ongoing work of the initiative is delegated to the following four subcommittees, each guided by a chair or co-chairs:

Programming | co-chairs: Diane Davis-Sikora & David Jurca
Oversee program development and priorities inline with the goal of Design Diversity, including the calendar and structure of the events. Keep committees informed and focused on accomplishing the objectives of the programming and what is needed to do so.

Marketing | co-chairs: Jason Eugene-Boarde, James Cowan & Arlene Watson
Development and implementation of various materials and supporting messages to raise the awareness of Design Diversity. Identify opportunities for promotion and ways to support those with media and programing. Supports all committees with ideas and materials to build and keep a consistent and reputable image for Design Diversity.

Education and Community Engagement | co-chairs: Michele Crawford, Lisa Givan & Jud Kline
Identify, build and foster strong and strategic relationships with various target audiences, including the design community, educational institutions, businesses and other key stakeholders. Help promote the value of Design Diversity. Identify opportunities for, and individuals to, volunteer and serve the objectives of various committees.

The initiative's work is just getting started. If you are interested in joining a subcommittee or just want to learn more about Design Diversity, please visit our Contact page.