BBSD Showcase poster

06.04.23 - Second annual BBSD Showcase to be held at the Daniels Building on April 15

This year’s Building Black Success through Design (BBSD) Showcase—a presentation of the work of Black high-school-aged design mentees—will be held in the Main Hall of the Daniels Building on Saturday, April 15.

Now in its second year, BBSD is a 12-week mentorship program offered through the Daniels Faculty for Black high-school students who are interested in architecture and design. The goal of the program is to inspire Black students to pursue excellence and innovation within design industries and academia, thereby enhancing diversity within the fields and building Black success through design.

The BBSD Showcase, held last year at Collision Gallery in Toronto’s Commerce Court (pictured below and on the homepage), exhibits the final projects of participating students. The 2023 Showcase on April 15 will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at 1 Spadina Crescent.

The event is free and open to all. Attendees are invited to register for tickets here.

This year, 18 students from high schools across the Greater Toronto Area and as far away as Sudbury will be completing the program, the theme of which is Design for Belonging. Grades 9 to 12 were represented; 10 of the students undertook the program in person, while eight participated online.

To guide the students, eight mentors were hired—four for the online cohort and four for the in-person group. All of the mentors were either Black current students or Black alumni.

Serving as Faculty advisors were Assistant Professor Bomani Khemet, Assistant Professor Petros Babasikas and Dr. Jewel Amoah, Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The program was administered by a coordinating team of six, including program supervisors Clara James and Rayah Flash, program facilitators Renée Powell-Hines and Mariam Abdelrahman, outreach and recruitment coordinator Julien Todd, and graphic designer Angelica Blake.

Although the two students cohorts each received initial instruction in the fundamentals of the design process, from tools to techniques, the focus of their designs ultimately diverged. The in-person group was tasked with making Toronto’s David Pecault Square, characterized by its hardscaping and location in the city core, more welcoming and inclusive, while the online cohort looked at achieving similar results for two lakeside parks near Ontario Place.

By many accounts, the exercises and outcomes were well received.

“My favourite part of the program,” one mentee wrote in a recent survey, “is learning how to rethink spaces to account for the people near them.”

“I like that this is a space to grow and develop your talents while feeling supported and encouraged,” said another.

In addition to the Showcase on the 15th, the drawings, models and other design work produced by the mentees may also be used by those who want to pursue further education “in an admissions portfolio to various post-secondary programs,” a key goal of the program.

For a sneak peek at the students’ process and work so far, link to the BBSD feed on Instagram by clicking here.