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 and emerging practitioners around the world. Highlighting notable 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.
It's format is simple and straightforward. Each 75-minute session is advertised weekly on Instagram at @officehours.design; the first 120 BIPoC students and emerging practitioners that register receive a link to the free Zoom event held later that week. In its first five months, the series was attended by over 1500 emerging BIPoC designers from across the United States, Canada, Jordan, Malaysia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, India, Australia, and Hong Kong.
Through its seasonal programming, directed by Esther Choi, Office Hours aspires to render a 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. As an experimental space of sociability, its format promotes knowledge sharing, listening and dialogue, and multi-racial and inter-ethnic solidarity as crucial tools for social transformation. Embracing intersectionality, Office Hours encourages speakers and attendees to engage in intimate discussions about the ways in which their overlapping social identities have shaped their personal journeys and insights.
Season 1 speakers included 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, and Dong-Ping Wong.
Season 2 began in February 2021.
To learn more, visit www.Office-Hours.design.
Mimi Zeiger, "It's Time to Abolish the Architecture Critic," Dezeen, (March 1, 2021).
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)