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March 4, 2019 / President's Letters

March 2019 President's Letter – Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

AIA Baltimore and Baltimore Architecture Foundation launch an all new Spring Lecture Series and Design Challenge with Baltimore’s T3XTURE journal. Last year, our chapter initiated a survey to all our members asking for feedback about the Lecture Series. We heard you! And so we will be inaugurating an expanded series of programs overhauled based your recommendations.
I will admit, we’re excited and a bit nervous, but I am confident that our intent will come through clearly: AIA Baltimore wants to not only transform the Lecture Series at your behest, but help lead and inspire Baltimore’s architecture community in creating visionary solutions to our city’s pressing issues through design by bringing internationally renowned speakers into dialogue with local practitioners. To that end, the innovative spirit, transformative intent, and intelligence will surely be an inspiration for lecture attendees.
The revamped Lecture Series brings something else: A local focus. The goals of the 2019 Lecture Series and parallel design competition are to stimulate a robust discourse among the design professions and the public, promote new and forward thinking design ideas, highlight work by local designers, and encourage allied organizations and diverse disciplines to participate and create a dialogue focusing on significant issues and solutions specific to Baltimore’s harbor and city edge. And while we certainly face a steep learning curve with this ambitious and expanded new agenda, hopefully, we’re ready for these challenges and most important, we will provide more of what you, our members, have been asking for.
Save the dates (March 20, March 27, April 24, and May 1) and please join us for the 2019 Lecture Series and Design Competition at MICA’s Brown Center. The lectures are still all FREE to attend!
Attending and participating in the new Lecture Series is a good time to focus, in one way or another, on the question of identity and self-image. How we regard ourselves and how we feel about who we are is, of course, not only about our profession, but about so many factors and facets of our lives. To that end, the Equity Committee continues its valiant mission to create awareness, a call for acknowledgement, and to appeal for action to affect positive change with programs addressing topics such as implicit bias in the workplace. Last year, architects discovered that their relationship with the profession was not what they had previously thought. That discovery has made us reconsider aspects of our own identity as well as the nature of the place we thought was our profession. The Equity Committee has shouldered the task of providing our members with the tools of navigating our new normal. This experience makes each of us consider not only our own place in society, but also that of one another. Accordingly, the Equity Committee is hosting a potluck lunch at the chapter house this Friday, March 8. Join them for a free screening of the AIAU Course “Building a Respectful and Harassment‐Free Workplace Culture.” This evening program will provide an opportunity for discussion about the ideas in the video and what we can do in our firms to foster a stronger workplace culture. (They are also providing 2 AIA/CES HSW LUs to sweeten the pot.)

Suzanne Frasier, FAIA
Morgan State University School of Architecture + Planning