News Releases

Dunwoody partners with design community to launch new ‘Conversations in Equity & Design’ speaker series

The virtual series addresses conversations around racial equity in the field of architecture

This fall, an inaugural virtual speaker series – Conversations In Equity & Design – focused on addressing questions of ethics, equity, justice and culture in relation to design practices and education, will launch in Minneapolis. The virtual series, hosted in partnership with Dunwoody College of Technology, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis College, MSP NOMA, and the American Institute of Architects Minnesota, will be available via Zoom, free of charge, starting on September 10, 2021. 

Starting as a desire to engage students and faculty in conversations around racial equity in the field of architecture, the idea grew into a series that will inspire students and the design community in the Twin Cities by highlighting dynamic, national work that connects design to issues of equity. The the project was funded by Dunwoody’s Crosby Grant for Learning Excellence and Innovation.

Throughout the series, each partner institution will host a virtual conversation with a different practitioner in design, architecture or landscape architecture, to share best practices and allow for critical conversations around the issues pertaining to their field. Participating speakers are all current design practitioners working in the realm of equity, and were selected by students from Dunwoody College of Technology and Minneapolis College. Throughout the academic semester, students will meet directly with each practitioner and will serve as a touchpoint for constructive discourse. Featured speakers include: 

Ronald Rael
in conversation with Trevor Bullen 

Hosted virtually by Dunwoody College of Technology on September 10, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. C.T. 

  • Ronald Rael is an applied architectural researcher, author, design entrepreneur, and thought leader in the fields of additive manufacturing and earthen architecture. This year, the London Design Museum awarded his creative practice, Rael San Fratello, (with architect Virginia San Fratello), the Beazley Design of the Year Award for their Teeter Totter Wall.
  • Conversation topic: how an expanded understanding of the borderlands has fostered experimentation, activism and play through craft and design.

Sekou Cooke
in conversation with Paul Bauknight

Hosted virtually by the Walker Art Center on September 30, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. C.T. 

  • Sekou Cooke is an architect, researcher, educator, and curator born in Jamaica and based in Charlotte, NC. His current research centers on the emergent field of Hip-Hop Architecture, a theoretical movement reflecting the core tenets of hip-hop culture with the power to create meaningful impact on the built environment and give voice to the marginalized and underrepresented within design practice.
  • Conversation topic: Cooke’s recent book ‘Hip Hop Architecture,’ Black Reconstructions at MoMA, and other current projects.

Sarah Zewde
in conversation with Jessica Holmes

Hosted virtually by Minneapolis College on October 15, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. C.T.

  • Sara Zewde is the founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm in New York City practicing landscape architecture, urbanism and public art. The studio is devoted to creating enduring places where people belong. Named a 2021 Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York, the firm is lauded for its distinct design methodology syncing culture, ecology and craft. 
  • Conversation topic: the recent design work of Studio Zewde in the context of rapid urban development, a changing climate and clarified social and political tensions.

Majora Carter
in conversation with Aarón Regla Bretón

Hosted virtually by AIA MN and NOMA MSP on November 3, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. C.T. 

  • Majora Carter is a real estate developer, urban revitalization strategy consultant, MacArthur Fellow and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She and her team develop vision, strategies and the type of development that transforms low-status communities into thriving mixed-use local economies. Her approach harnesses capital flows resulting from American re-urbanization to help increase wealth building opportunities across demographics left out of all historic financial tide changes. Majora’s work produces long term fiscal benefits for governments, residents and private real estate developments throughout North America.
  • Conversation topic: community as corporation – talent retention in low-status America. 

For more information about the virtual speaker series and to register, visit the website at More information on Dunwoody can be found at or by following Dunwoody on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. Having provided hands-on, applied technical education to more than 250,000 men and women, Dunwoody is the college for experimenters and makers, a place where the curious and the confident learn by doing. Located in Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers a unique campus experience in dedicated labs, studios, and shops that treats students like future professionals from day one. With certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees in more than 46 majors – including engineering, robotics, design and other STEM-related fields – Dunwoody challenges students to come determined and graduate destined. More information on Dunwoody can be found at or by following Dunwoody on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.