“This event is important,” said Tamara Rice, instructor in the TCU Department of Design. “Their voices are important.”
The Department of Design is hosting the “Black History Designer Symposium: A Seat at the Table” on Feb. 24, an inaugural event celebrating local designers and will feature International Interior Design Association (IIDA) CEO Cheryl Durst as its keynote speaker.
We spoke to Rice about bringing the event to campus and inviting local designers to join the community conversation. She shares her hopes for the symposium and for creating an inclusive environment where every voice is accepted.
“As a black designer, I have walked into many spaces and felt like I never had a seat at the table,” said Rice. “A seat at the table means to be truly seen and heard. A seat at the table is freedom.”
The symposium will also include high school students who are interested in design to learn and explore opportunities in the field. They will participate in a design workshop and collaborate with TCU faculty and the panel members.
A Deep Dive with Tamara Rice
How did the opportunity arise to host the “Black History Designer Symposium: A Seat at the Table?”
Rice: Amy Roehl, our wonderful interior design coordinator and professor, brought the idea and has allowed me to run with it. With the help of my committee members, Amy Roehl and Myosha Maston, we are full steam ahead.
This year, you partnered with IIDA CEO Cheryl Durst and five local designers. Why is it important to collaborate with community members and designers in different disciplines?
Rice: What better place to start than your community? Going local speaks to the challenges many black designers encounter and facilitates conversations on how we might better communicate and connect. I work in this community and recognize that collaborating with local designers cultivates an atmosphere of support.
Hosting IIDA CEO Cheryl Durst is the ultimate treat. As a black woman, her leadership is truly inspiring. We can all pull something and learn from her story.
What do you hope is the lasting impact of the event?
Rice: I hope attendees are inspired to create and continue the conversation and celebrate beyond Black History Month. I hope they continue to push diversity and inclusion throughout our design industries and communities.
Who has served as an inspiration in your life?
Rice: I have so many inspirations in my life. My parents are the reason why I am so determined. I am also inspired heavily by travel, jazz, Frida Kahlo and Queen Hatshepsut.
Queen Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh, reigned as a man for 22 years. She was a designer, architect and phenomenal leader who brought great wealth and artistry to her land. When I feel unsure of myself, I think of her, and I stand 10 feet tall.