DEI Taubman Spotlight Student is working to make the design industry more accessible

Source: Taubman College

Architecture Graduate Student Torri Smith

Name: Torri Smith

Preferred Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

Affiliation/Title: Graduate Student

Degree(s): Bachelor of Architecture; Master of Architecture, Candidate 2021

Home Country: United States (Detroit, MI)

Language(s) Spoken: English, Spanish and Japanese

Gender Identity: Cis Woman

Racial Identity: Multi-Racial (Black, Asian + White)

Favorite Food: Salmon Nigiri (Sushi)

What are other identities that you would like to share? Filipino, Jamaican, Nigerian, German, and African American

Favorite book and why: Everything is Trash But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson is my current favorite as well as Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall.

Favorite thing to do when not at TC: Paint (large scale oil + murals), international travel, and adventures around Detroit.

DEI Contribution/Highlight: I love the optimism of design! In teaching, I work to bring to the forefront thinking about accessibility and barrier-free design that is sensitive to the range of human abilities, and the opportunities for accessible architecture to lead the way in becoming more, and not less, inventive. ‘Accessible’ means many things, including being ‘friendly and easy to talk to,’ and I believe that the manner in which we communicate design ideas is integral to increasing the inclusivity of those ideas.

Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important to you? I have had the opportunity to work on the executive board of the National Organization of Minority Architects for the last year, as well as work with an amazing group of students to help form the Design Justice Actions, this has all been incredibly rewarding.  Working with these student groups has allowed me to participate in conversations centered around social justice, transparency, the advocacy of BIPOC students and staff and the elevation of diverse narratives.

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