Support Inclusive Context

As a global community of architecture educators, supporting our students through unpredictable times—especially the provision of pastoral care for the health, safety, and well-being of our international and marginalized students—has become a key focus area.

The eight Inclusive Practices which we identified, are summarized in Table:

Inclusive Practices within the Support Inclusive Context for a Radically Inclusive Studio:

Support Inclusive Context: Eight Inclusive Practices

Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu expression meaning “humanity”. Broadly translated as “I am because we are,” ubuntu is often used philosophically to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity” (Madonsela 2020; Tutu 2013).

Through building collective well-being and providing mental health support, it helps to build a sense of community. The webinar data included a debate about whether students should have their cameras turned on or off during online classes and the impact that this decision has on the broader cohort community (ACSAEducating in a Rapidly Changing Time, 2020), exemplifying an ‘Ubuntu currere’ approach.

Auto-ethnographic conversations by authors during Covid, and architectural education online:

The Start of a Conversation About ‘Employing Ubuntu Currere for Collective Well-being’.
Join the conversation at the bottom of the Post in the Comments section.

Reflections from graduate student researchers:

Madina Masimova (she/her)

Architecture, Interiors, and Lighting

Graduate student at the Parsons School of Design
Masters of Interior Design and Lighting
The New School, New York, New York

Madina’s reflection on the support context:

The concept of Ubuntu in the core of this context, I am because we are, encourages sharing of knowledge and collaborations. This approach is equal rather hierarchical towards learning. Taking a Representation and Spatial Analysis course at Parsons as a part of my degree, has been following the structure of Radical Inclusive Studio, which enabled open access to deciding over my education and bringing curriculum variations. As an international student, I recognize how important it is to be able to share personal perspectives. Moreover, the concept of open reviews and peer-to-peer feedback I have experienced is something that I have greatly appreciated. Studying my undergraduate at the art academy in my hometown with closed reviews always made me think that this is not the correct way to educate. Review back there would happen in a closed room of professors and grades were given without the presence of students, which left us separated rather than united with the system. During Representation and Spatial Analysis with Michele and Katrina at Parsons, I have experienced gradeless assessment which allowed for more experimentation and freedom in learning and shifted focus towards growth rather than satisfaction to get a certain grade. Studying at the University of the Arts London, during the pandemic we were able to write self feedback. Only here, at the Representation course the assessment was completely gradeless. Going through this process, gave me the freedom of self-expression, increased my focus on self-analysis rather than thoughts of fitting into a framework. Grades amplify the pressure of adapting to opinions, while gradeless system provides opportunity to analyze feedback and opinion of supervisors in a more critical manner. Applying this approach to my representation research allowed space for more experimentation and eliminated anxiety from fails and trials, which led to new discoveries.

Madina’s Recommendations:

I support gradeless assessment in the form of self, peer and faculty feedback and discussions. I would encourage a similar approach towards not only graduates, but also undergraduate and school level students. I see a reward-punishment system assigned to grading and suggest a more comprehensive approach in the form of communication and feedback. There are cases where grading leads to stress and even detrimental consequences.

Madina’s question:

How does your current grading system and curriculum structure make you feel?

Does it encourage you to experiment more?

Ashima Yadav (she/her)

New Delhi, India

Interiors and Electrical Engineering



Graduate student at the Parsons School of Design

The New School, New York, New York

Ashima’s reflection on the support context:

The education system’s disruptions have been marked by a recurrent demonstration of support and inclusiveness, as the community has united to uplift each other towards improvement. This was exemplified during the recent part-time faculty strike at The New School, where students showed their support for their peers by engaging in clear communication and offering constructive, positive feedback. This epitomizes the essence of the #Inthistogether movement, fostering growth and a sense of collective responsibility within the community.

Ashima recommendations on inclusive practices within the support context:

I definitely advocate encouraging peer evaluations over teacher reviews since it helps to create a community of designers; it’s almost like a get-together to celebrate each other’s work. What I particularly love is the terminology that we attach with these assessments; it’s incredible that we’ve never had evaluations but rather affirmations and suggestions, never presentations but rather work celebrations

Ashima’s question to the University of Cape Town design students within the support context:

How has the recent experience of supporting each other impacted your understanding of the education system and the role of students in it?

In your opinion, how can the sense of inclusiveness and support be sustained and strengthened in the future?

Download cards to facilitate a discussion in person:

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