BBSD Design Showcase

Saturday, March 26, 5 p.m.–8 p.m. EDT
Collision Gallery
Commerce Court, South Tower
30 Wellington Street West, Unit G114
Toronto, Ontario

Black Students in Design at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty address under-representation of Black people within the architecture and design industry

Student-led mentorship program encourages Black high school students to explore design skills and find community with other Black students

Toronto, March 2022 – The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design group Black Students in Design (BSD) is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the culmination of the first year of Building Black Success Through Design (BBSD), a comprehensive mentorship program created to encourage Black youth to explore careers in architecture and design. The exhibition will premiere with a showcase on Saturday, March 26, at Collision Gallery in downtown Toronto from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Developed by current Daniels Faculty students, the BBSD mentorship program guided seven Black Grade 11 students from across the GTA and one from Calgary through architecture and design concepts, tools, techniques and methods that can be applied to university applications and portfolios, while also building connections and community with Black mentors and peers.

The showcase at Collision Gallery highlights the work created by the inaugural cohort of BBSD mentees. The final submissions were juried by urban placemaker Jay Pitter, interior designer Kathryn Lawrence and Daniels Faculty sessional lecturer Otto Ojo.

“We wanted to give young Black designers the opportunity to experience the university environment, to build community with other Black peers, and to get a glimpse of what it might be like to pursue a career in design,” says Clara James, BSD Founder and President. “The showcase is a celebration of the incredible talent and commitment that the mentees brought to the program, and the potential that they represent not just within their cohort, but for all Black youth who want to become architects or designers in Canada.”

According to Daniels Faculty Dean Juan Du, “I’m incredibly appreciative and proud of the Black Students in Design group. Its leadership is raising the bar, quickly mobilizing a program that is highlighting and encouraging Blackness in design, expanding accessibility and showing us how we can shape a new normal.”

About Building Black Success Through Design (BBSD)
BBSD is a free mentorship program for Black high school students interested in architecture and design. It was designed by BSD members and supported by the Daniels Faculty with a grant from the Access Program University Funds. Participants in this 10-week program received one-on-one mentorship from Black architecture and design students to create final projects for the BBSD design competition. Mentees were guided through a series of design workshops, lectures and presentations. The workshops introduced concepts, tools, techniques and methods used in the architecture and design industry including sketches, digital drawings, a 3D digital model, a physical model and writing.

About Black Students in Design (BSD)
BSD is a student group within the Daniels Faculty at University of Toronto that was created in recognition of the many barriers faced by Black students in the design and architecture fields. BSD creates initiatives for Black students to de-stress, talk about racial issues in the design industry, and to connect with Black design professionals. These initiatives include movie nights, “sip and paints,” design and equity discussions, and “Careers in Design,” a series of networking events that highlight Black professionals in the fields of architecture, interior design and graphic design. Acknowledging the lack of diversity within the design community, BSD designed the Building Black Success through Design mentorship program to support youth in pursuing a design career.

Click here to learn more about BBSD and BSD.

Click here to register for Saturday’s event.

Instagram: @blackstudentsindesign

For additional information, images or interviews, please contact:

Shannan Wood, Account Manager
Kriss Communications


Members of the Black Students in Design group. Clara James, founder and president, is third from right (wearing green top). (Photo by Harry Choi)