AIGA Austin Next Steps and Survey for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

AIGA, formerly known as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is the professional association for design. Founded over 100 years ago, AIGA continues to be challenged by the lack of diversity in programming and within the organization.

AIGA Austin was founded in 1997 as a separate 501(c3) nonprofit chapter. Since then we’ve had diverse leadership, but have fallen short of providing equitable programming and representation. While we have always opened our doors to everyone, we are taking steps to reexamine our programming and build out new efforts against biased and discriminatory systems within the design profession.

We are committing to a set of measures we believe are the first step to making change in our local organization to serve you, our community. We will continue to build on this with our goals for 2021 and beyond.

Measures we have taken so far:

  • Created a Code of Conduct and reporting structure to protect members both in and outside of AIGA Austin events
  • Elevated our Diversity and Inclusion Chair to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Director
  • Created a DEI Committee dedicated to creating programming and resources

What’s Next

  • Scheduled required DEI Training for all board members this August
  • Establish and require DEI pledges from all board members in relation to their role and programming
  • Create an event series highlighting barriers that underrepresented communities face in design
  • Establish honorariums to compensate all speakers and workshop leaders
  • Add option to waive or reimburse paid membership for board roles upon request
  • Reevaluate all existing programs to redesign for equity (plans to come)
    • Afterhours Poster Show
    • Changemaker Series
    • Creative Mass
    • Design Ranch
    • GROW Conference
    • Maura Rose Kampa Scholarship
    • Under the Radar
  • Partner with and promote organizations already working on inclusion within design
    • African American Graphic Designers
    • Black UX Austin
    • E4 Youth
    • More to come
  • Establish mentorship opportunities with an emphasis on BIPOC designers
  • Redesign our website to ensure it is accessible for all users

This is the beginning of our list, with more plans and goals to be announced after we hold our annual board retreat and DEI training. In the future, we will be establishing target metrics for representation on our board and within our speakers and workshop leaders. You can also expect more detailed plans for specific programs and initiatives we are planning for 2020 and 2021 later this year. We do not take this issue lightly and hope you can continue to participate, provide your input, and hold us accountable.

If you have additional ideas, feedback, or want to share your experiences with AIGA Austin and DEI, you can take our survey here. 

By AIGA Austin
Published July 28, 2020