Smash The Table

Violet projections poured into the lecture hall as a soundtrack of gentle thunder played. Guests sipped mint-infused cocktails from aluminum tumblers lightly beaded with condensation. It was Friday night at SCI-Arc, not the most amenable time for a dialogue in an academic setting (in this case, the fourth installment of the B(l)ackspace conversation series), which may have been the reason for the spectacle. Prompted by moderator La’keem Timothy, Tobi Ashiru of Poché Design Studio and Silas Munro of Polymode Studio traced parallels in their leadership of Black and indigenous design collectives and tapped into their entrepreneurial strategies for cultivating soft power. Tobi, on Black identity: “I got some really good advice in grad school: Sometimes you’re going to have to show up in spaces and tuck certain parts of your identity in your pocket, but once you’re in those rooms and you get there—smash the table. Fuck shit up.” And Silas, on allyship: “Organize and create your own structures in space, adjacent to SCI-Arc or wherever you are. …[Doing that] changed my life.”

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