Update: Several new female speakers have since been added to the lineup, including Nora Demeter, Dr. Eve Edelstein, Elizabeth Diller, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
A group of over 50 architects, firms and architecture students has spoken out at the lack of female representation among the keynote speakers selected for the 2017 AIA National Convention. Of the seven keynotes lectures to be given over the conference’s three days, just one will be led by a woman, and none by a female architect.
In a letter sent to the Architect’s Newspaper, the group calls for the AIA to reevaluate the conference program, and to consider selecting participants more “reflective of the diversity in architecture.” The letter also questions the organization’s dedication to upholding the values outlined in the diversity and inclusion statement listed on their website, suggesting the statement does not go far enough to promote the work of the organization’s diverse membership.
This year's conference will take place from April 27-29 in Orlando's Orange County Convention Center. The selected keynote speakers for the 2017 conference include 2016 Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena, architect Francis Kéré, MASS Design Group co-founder Michael Murphy, graphic designer and Pentagram partner Michael Bierut, Dan Goods and David Delgado from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and social psychologist Amy Cuddy.
The controversy can be viewed as the AIA’s second misstep in recent months, following a poorly-received letter of support for the Trump administration that resulted in the organization releasing an official apology video and a $1 million commitment to boosting diversity within the profession.
You can read the letter in its entirety at the Architect’s Newspaper, here.
News via Architect’s Newspaper.