Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski, associate professors at Iowa State University and cofounders of WAI Architecture Think Tank, have been awarded the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s (ACSA) first Faculty Fellowship to Advance Equity in Architecture.
Garcia and Frankowski will receive $80,000 in grant support “to extend the impact of ACSA’s work on racial equity and climate action through public programming, outreach, and partnerships,” a press release stated.
Throughout the twelve-month fellowship, Garcia and Frankowski will use the funds to build “a website with articles and links to organizations and programming on social and ecological justice.” The website will host presentations and lectures that will live on ACSA’s YouTube channel in perpetuity. This will be augmented by a “newspaper-style publication” that will document the work produced throughout the fellowship and its complementary event programming.
In describing their goals, Cruz Garcia told AN, “We see the ACSA Fellowship to Advance Equity in Architecture as a timely measure that could provide institutional support to forms of critical and important knowledge about social and ecological justice at a time when critical accounts of history that consider the undeniable effects, legacy, and architectures of settler-colonialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy are being banned and silenced.”
The duo beat out nearly two dozen applications for the fellowship, which emerged from ACSA’s strategic planning discussions between 2021–22. “Many of our existing programs curate content related to equity, social justice, and climate action within architectural education,” ACSA president Mo Zell said. “But too often this work would sit quietly after the conference or after the design awards were given. We sought a partner to help share the great work that our members are doing to advance social justice and climate action.”
“With the funding of the project, we will construct a platform that will center scholarship on social and ecological justice, with the hope that we can start identifying many of these important texts that are currently sitting behind paywalls and find ways to start making them open access,” Garcia said. “In that platform, we hope to include links to organizations doing ground and theoretical work about architectural education and practice, like Dark Matter University, Nuestro Norte es El Sur, Design as Protest, or The Architecture Lobby. In addition to this, we’re planning a traveling lecture series to highlight some of the academic institutions doing important and urgent work,” he continued.
“Due to the undeniable urgency of these social and ecological issues, we hope that the fellowship can help display how race, gender, caste, disability, and class are (and have always been) core architectural subjects, and only through addressing them can a truly emancipatory form of architectural education begin to take place,” Garcia said.
Programming by WAI Architecture Think Tank supported by the ACSA will commence this fall in Ames, Iowa.