The National Organization for Minority Architects conference kicks off this week in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon

By The Editors

The National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA) is hosting its annual conference in PortlandOregon for the first time. The five-day event brings together architects and design professionals for a series of panel discussions, seminars, workshops, award ceremonies, and building tours. This year’s theme, Building Bridges Towards Just and Joyful Futures, alludes to the 12 bridges in Portland, connecting the east and west sides of the city. The full schedule for the conference is available here.

The city of Portland holds significance for the professional organization, as it was the location of the 1968 AIA convention, where civil rights activist Whitney M. Young Jr. gave a speech on diversity in the industry. “NOMA is steeped in history with a mission founded out of need and call to action. As we gather in this historically significant city to NOMA, we recognize that every NOMA member brings their unique gifts and experiences to our conference,” said Pascale Sablan, 2023–2024 NOMA president, in a press release.

The event kicks off on October 11 with the Legacy Project. Attendees will visit the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition and Black Futures Farm to consider Black histories as they relate to agricultural work through gardening and design.

Among the speakers taking part in discussions at this year’s conference are architects Toshiko MoriNina Cooke John, and artist Olalekan Jeyifous. Mori is a panelist for the keynote Just Practice, Joyful Learning. She will speak alongside Robert L. Easter of Hampton University, Cruz Garcia of WAI Think Tank, and Daisy-O’lice Williams of University of Oregon. The group of professionals will engage in a conversation on how the education system could be amended. In Neo Griots-Storytelling through Practice, Cooke John and Jeyifous will address ways the built environment can be used to tell overwritten or forgotten narratives and histories.