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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

BIPOC Design History

January 25, 2021

Black Design in America is the first in a series of BIPOC Centered design history courses facilitated by Polymode.

Through pre-recorded lectures, readings, and live discussions, the class will shed light on moments of oppression and visibility. The series revisits and rewrites the course of design history in a way that centers previously marginalized designers, cultural figures—and particularly BIPOC and QTPOC people.

The classes include the ancient origins of African alphabets, innovative mathematics in African architecture, systemic racism of the transatlantic slave trade, W.E.B. Du Bois’s innovative information diagrams in 1900, the aesthetics of Eugenics and its science of racial profiling, the Harlem Renaissance and other queer Blackness, The Tuskegee Syphilis Study that exploited vulnerable veterans supervised by the U.S. Public Health Service, the grassroots network of Victor Hugo Green’s Motorists books, Blues Modernism, the rise of hip hop’s graphic language, urgent protest graphics of Black Lives Matter movement, and the 21st century data activism of the collective Data for Black Lives.

The classes will be recorded and available for watching asynchronously beyond the mentioned dates on the BIPOC Design History website.

Instructors include VCFA faculty and alumnx Silas Munro, Ziddi Msangi, Tasheka Arceneaux Sutton, Pierre Bowins, amongst others.