The practices of Akil and Seth Scafe Smith from RESOLVE Collective and filmmaker Ama Gisèle explore the fascinating realm where design transcends boundaries, drawing inspiration from a myriad of artistic disciplines and visual cultures. As they redefine ‘local’ in architecture, they engage with profound questions of identity and representation. Through Gisèle’s experimental documentary, “Convergence,” and Akil and Seth’s distinctive approach to community engagement, their creative processes place a strong emphasis on inclusivity and representation, pushing designers to engage the intricacies of labor organization and adaptability within their work.
About Ama Gisèle and RESOLVE Collective
Ama Gisèle is an artist, writer and filmmaker from Queens, NY. She graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in English and Black Studies. There, she completed her first short story collection entitled “there are sharp things in the ground and her hands are soft.” From there, she expanded her practice to filmmaking—writing and directing her first short film entitled Be Like Me in 2020. Her second and most recent project is called Convergence, an experimental documentary and dance piece that explores intimacy, connection, and vulnerability.
Resolve is an interdisciplinary design collective that combines architecture, engineering, technology and art to address social challenges. They have delivered numerous projects, workshops, publications, and talks in the UK and across Europe, all of which look toward realizing just and equitable visions of change in our built environment.
Much of their work aims to provide platforms for the production of new knowledge and ideas, whilst collaborating and organizing to help build resilience in their communities. An integral part of this way of working means designing with and for young people and under-represented groups in society.
Resolve collective’s ‘design’ practices encompass both physical and systemic intervention, exploring ways of using a project’s site as a resource and working with different communities as stakeholders in the short and long-term management of projects. For resolve, design carries more than aesthetic value; it is also a mechanism for political and socio-economic change.
How to Listen
About the Show
Developed by the African American Design Nexus at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, The Nexus is a podcast that explores the intersection of design, identity, and practice through conversations with Black designers, writers, and educators. The Nexus is produced in conjunction with a commitment by the Frances Loeb Library to acquire and create an open-access bibliography of various media suggested by the GSD community on the intersection between race and design.
The Nexus Season 3 is hosted by Esesua Ikpefan, Doctor of Design Studies student and Tomi Seyi Laja, 2023 alum of the Master of Architecture II program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The show is recorded and edited by Maggie Janik, and the theme music is produced by DJ Eway.
For all inquiries, please email [email protected].