Symbolic Inclusive Context

Within our pivot to remote learning, in the midst of the context of the mass protests in the USA, the symbolic dimension was heightened through the form of globally shared resources and symbolic messaging. Initial symbolic messages from institution leaders, copy/pasted responses in support of #BLM, were seen as empty words from ivory towers. The need to acknowledge and redress racism of the past and present within architectural education and the profession must be prioritized.

We formulated ten inclusive practices as listed in Table:

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

Symbolic Inclusive Context: Ten Inclusive Practices

In these cultural exchanges, we acknowledged a common need to build a more resilient studio culture and promote a healthy learning culture within the architecture studio, to become more inclusive.

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

The Start of a Conversation About ‘Recognizing Architecture as a Producer of Culture’. Join the conversation at the bottom of this 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 symbolically inclusive context:

Symbolic context enables collaboration between students of different backgrounds, sharing and understanding each other’s culture. Having spoken to Michele about my culture, has inspired me to create a historic preservation of various handicrafts from carpets and silk scarves to copperwork and pottery. In the future I would like to visit each region of my country and record these handicrafts through photogrammetry documenting what is being lost in contemporary times. This would make new generations aware of its focus on integration of new forms of knowledge. Further, emerging technologies create great contribution to preservation of culture by providing tools for documenting, such as 3d scanning of physical world followed by transferring it into the virtual world. Researching Metaverse, showed me that virtual persistent worlds can preserve craft and keep the memory from vanishing away.

Madina’s Recommendation:

I recommend that we share our cultures by bringing it into our studios, design processes, methodologies and while acknowledging the origins. Yes, guarding culture is important, but at the same time being inspired by other cultures, while recognizing and voicing the origins of knowledge creates more unity between us.

Madina’s question:

What aspects of your culture do you think are not being shared?

What would you like to incorporate into the current system?

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 symbolic context:

The epidemic has brought to light the importance of improved inclusion and accessibility in online education, particularly for underprivileged areas. As a result, there has been growing focus and discussion about the necessity of cultural inclusion in the Indian education system, including conversations about incorporating indigenous knowledge and viewpoints into curricula and the need for more sensitivity to other cultures and beliefs. The epidemic has also brought to light the importance of improved diversity and accessibility in online education, particularly for vulnerable areas.

Ashima’s recommendations within the symbolic context:

I hold the conviction that, in addition to promoting inclusiveness and accessibility, the significance of accessibility for mental well-being must be emphasized even further. The current pandemic has necessitated that educational systems prioritize accommodating the mental health concerns of students, with teachers playing a vital role in this endeavor.

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

How important do you think it is to prioritize the accommodation of mental health concerns for students in the current pandemic?

How has the epidemic brought to light the need for more sensitivity to other cultures and beliefs in the education system?

Download cards to facilitate a discussion in person:

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