Office Hours is a non-profit mentoring initiative, founded in July 2020, that features design creatives who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC) in online group conversations with BIPoC students, recent graduates, and practitioners around the world.
As a growing network of progressive BIPoC creative professionals, many of whom are producing some of the most exciting work in the design fields today, this online classroom-meets-chatroom facilitates intergenerational dialogues with the desire to address the long-standing problem of BIPoC underrepresentation in the design professions.
Each 75-minute session is advertised weekly on Instagram at @officehours.design; the first 150 BIPoC students and emerging practitioners that sign up receive a link to the free Zoom event held later that week. Events usually reach capacity in a matter of hours, with a wait list. In its first five months, the series reached over 1500 emerging BIPoC designers. Attendees have joined from across the United States, Canada, Jordan, Malaysia, Tel Aviv, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, India, and Hong Kong.
Through its weekly programming run by Esther Choi, Office Hours aspires to render a diverse range of cutting-edge BIPoC creatives in the fields of architecture and design visible to younger audiences, while providing free information and professional advice that address the barriers to entry and success for emerging BIPoC creatives. The series promotes knowledge sharing, listening and dialogue to build solidarity and achieve greater equity in the design professions. Embracing intersectionality, Office Hours encourages speakers and attendees to engage in intimate discussions about the ways in which their social identities have shaped their personal journeys and insights.
Season 1 speakers include: Alyse Archer-Coité, Sunil Bald, Germane Barnes, Shumi Bose, Sean Canty, Tei Carpenter, Esther Choi, Eric Hu, Mark Gardner, Asad Syrkett, Jonathan Jackson, Justin Garrett Moore, Quilian Riano, Jacqueline Shaw, Lexi Tsien-Shiang, Lee Mun Wah, Dong-Ping Wong
Architizer Editors, “Office Hours is shifting the landscape for BIPOC creatives,” Architizer. (Oct. 23, 2020).
Charu Suri, "A Grassroots Mentorship Program Aims to Break Down Industry Barriers," Architectural Digest Pro (Oct.19, 2020)