The African American Design Nexus is a collaborative project between the Harvard Graduate School of Design's Frances Loeb Library and the African American Student Union at the GSD.

Emerging from a conversation held at the schools biannual Black in Design conference the project grew from an initial research initiative of cataloging and profiling Black and African American Designers to a web development project over the 2018-2019 academic year.

As the project grows it is our goal to augment the catalog of designers with engaging multimedia content that explores the intersection of design, identity, and practice. Our mission is not only to showcase black designers but to make-known creative leaders and inspire future generations of designers to lead in shaping the world around us.

Ann Baird Whiteside

Project Director

Ann Baird Whiteside is Librarian/Assistant Dean for Information Services at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. The focus of her work is re-envisioning the 21st century library through expanding the diversity of library collections and access to information; expanding the creation of and access to digital information in close collaboration with scholars, the use of technology to support teaching and research, and re-thinking the connections between space and information. Ann has been a lead on the African American Design Nexus, collaborating across the GSD with students, faculty, and designers outside the GSD. She has served as President of the Arts Libraries Society of North American and the Visual Resources Association, and is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from both organizations.

Alix Reiskind

Project Support & Library Liaison

Alix Reiskind is the Research and Teaching Services Lead Librarian at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s Frances Loeb Library. During her career at the Loeb Library she has filled various roles, including overseeing the Visual and Materials Collections, integrating the Materials Collection into the Library, and managing the digitization efforts of the Library. Alix works closely with colleagues across Harvard and in other academic institutions in these efforts. She is currently working on building the Loeb Library’s Research and Teaching team; as well as supporting internal projects, including the African American Design Nexus. Alix holds a Master in Library Science from Simmons College and a Bachelor’s degree from Colgate University. Alix is a member of the Digital Library Federation and the Visual Resources Association, she has presented at conferences on new digital system efforts at Harvard and on the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Materials Collection.

Omotara Oluwafemi

Content Creator

Omotara Oluwafemi is an artist and designer. She received a Bachelor of Arts in French and Architectural Studies from Amherst College in 2018 and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Being born in Nigeria and growing up in the United States and Canada required Omotara to respond to multiple environments, a circumstance that has given her a heightened sense of awareness of her surroundings. A consciousness of stimuli from built urban environments and constructed interior spaces has taught her how major the effects of architecture are on our perception. Through the African American Design Nexus, she hopes to be exposed to more Black designers and develop more ways to promote their work.

Thandi Nyambose

Geospatial Analyst

Thandi Nyambose is currently pursuing her Master’s in Urban Planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Before enrolling at the GSD, she lived in New York City, where she received her BA from Barnard College in Urban Studies with a concentration in Environmental Science and Sustainable Development. She has done international research in global cities including Dakar, Senegal, São Paulo, Brazil, and Ahmedabad, India, and is particularly interested in the intersection of planning/design and urban climate change implications. Thandi is currently copresident of AfricaGSD, where she hopes to center African voices in the wider GSD curriculum and showcase research on the continent. As a member of the AADN team, her work involves using geospatial representation to create interactive narratives surrounding remarkable African American work in the design industry.

Darien Carr

Content Creator

Darien Carr is a thinker, artist and architect-in-training at The Harvard Graduate School of Design (March I). Before studying architecture, Carr attended Harvard for undergraduate and graduated with an honors degree in Social Studies, with a secondary field in music. Between their creative and academic endeavors, Carr has worked with organizations such as The Knight Foundation, NPR and the MIT Media Lab.

Past Contributors

Dana McKinney

Gabriel Ramos

Max Smith-Holmes

Isabel Strauss

Caleb Negash