The Anti-Racism Working Group (ARWG) of the School of Architecture is a committee of full- and part-time faculty members, architects, alum, and students committed to anti-racism in architectural education.
The School recognizes that fighting racism is a long-term challenge—not something that can be achieved in a semester—and is committed to considering the recommendations of the ARWG, within reason and wherever possible. The plan for the ARWG is to take things slowly and to “do it right.”
Prof Annmarie Adams and architect Conrad Peart serve as co-chairs of the group. Peart, an alum, links us to the architectural profession, provides an arms-length perspective, and underlines the role of collaboration and partnership in fighting racism.
The work of the ARWG runs from 1 September 2021 – 31 January 2022. All meetings are hybrid and take place from room 207, 9-10 a.m. If you would like to attend a particular meeting, please contact us.
The email address is arwg.architecture [at] mcgill.ca.
Here is some context. In summer 2020, GASA and ASA wrote an open letter to the School’s leadership, a “Call for Action Against Systemic Racism at the School of Architecture.” As a first response, the School commissioned consultant Sheila Brown to produce a “Working Paper on Anti-racism Consultations”, “Working Paper on Anti-racism Consultations" after she conducted a series of interviews with faculty, staff, and students.
The mandate of the ARWG is to leverage Brown’s report in relation to McGill’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism 2020-2025. The group is also integrating information from multiple external sources, including other schools of architecture and professional organizations. The ARWG will submit its report to the Director by 31 January 2022.
The ARWG is pleased to collaborate with other anti-racism initiatives in the School, particularly the Race + Space reading group and accompanying blog, the Canada Research Chair on Architectures of Spatial Justice, the current graduate seminar on race and land, new awards for student research on race, and two planned anti-racism tenure-track hires.
The ARWG invites students to share feedback, questions, ideas, and experiences that may be relevant to the work of the group.
ARWG meeting topics:
September 3, 2021
September 24, 2021
- Vision and Mission Statements, Land acknowledgement: revise statements, land acknowledgement policy.
- Public Image: Histories of the School [including women’s histories, sexism, homophobia], naming, spaces, artwork.
October 22, 2021
- Funding: awards, scholarships, opportunities, funding for guest lecturers, etc.
- Communications: social media, lectures, discussions, student groups, international exchanges, networking events.
October 29, 2021
- Indigenous engagement: students, Elders, Elder greeting, curriculum
- Outreach: community, university, other departments, other schools of architecture, professionals, organizations.
- Resources and counselling: website, readings lists & access to counselling: mental health and wellness, work load.
November 5, 2021
- Hiring/recruiting: faculty, lecturer recruitment, postdocs, guest critics, visiting professors. Promotions, recognitions.
- Admissions: equity training, outreach to pre-uni students. Example: University of Toronto Medicine “Black student application program.”
November 26, 2021
- Accountability: evaluate, survey demographic info / work environment, collect data, student positions in committees, procedures of reporting harassment, micro-aggressions, commitment to review plan every x years, accreditation requirements/reform.
- Training: workshops and trainings for students, faculty, staff.
December 17, 2021
- Curriculum: how to decolonize studios, core classes, electives. New classes.
- Accessibility & space: accessibility, signage, safety (ex. after hours).
Ron Adriano (GASA rep)
Christopher Clarke (PhD rep)
Elif Kurkcu (ASA rep)
The ARWG is grateful to Ipek Mehmetoglu for gathering and organizing relevant documents during summer 2021.