Attribution Matters

To our AIGA Boston community,

We would like to take a moment to acknowledge a few thoughts our board has been having over the past few weeks. Specifically, how we are addressing issues we are seeing within our design community, and how we will continue to fight for and support you. 

AIGA Boston is one of many regional chapters across the country which are independently registered as not-for-profit educational institutions. Although AIGA National is registered separately from local chapters, this staff and Board of Directors are meant to be leaders that local chapters can turn to for support, establishing a modern code of conduct, and helping us advocate for the design industry on a national level. A portion of all membership dues go to National to fund these initiatives.

Earlier this month, AIGA National made a public statement addressing the murder of George Floyd and Black Americans across the country. This statement used language and ideas developed within AIGA’s National Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) task force – led at the time by Antionette Carroll, who further champions these ideas through her company, Creative Reaction Lab. These concepts, though attributed to her in years past, were not attributed to her in this letter. 

When challenged by designers and local chapters to provide proper credit to all involved, AIGA National failed to provide a prompt or clear response, revealing holes in our organization’s methods in communication, attribution policies, and record-keeping. 

Attribution gives legitimacy to the work that we do. Many talented and driven individuals contribute to the efforts of the national D&I task force. AIGA Boston recognizes the importance of, and the need for, maintaining accurate institutional knowledge so that proper recognition and credit can be attributed when appropriate. 

Failing to cite Black creatives or appropriating their ideas, whether intentional or not, silences and excludes dynamic voices, expertise, and experiences from the larger work of designing inclusive, powerful solutions for the future. By openly crediting diverse professionals, we broaden our roster of design leadership and expand the number of people who can benefit from their work.

Although our local chapter had no part in the making of the statement or its response, we cannot ignore these instances of oppression. AIGA Boston recognizes Antionette Carroll, former AIGA board member and Founding Chair of the D&I task force, and her work. We apologize for the hurt and pain caused. 

As your chapter, we stand by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) values. We are drafting a letter to AIGA National calling for intentional commitments to protect our BIPOC designers and plan on sharing it with the community. Additionally, our board is in the process of conducting an internal audit to better assess and understand both our strengths and our areas for continued growth within our D&I initiatives. We will look hard at our own practices through this lens, and continue to advocate for Black creatives. We welcome those interested in supporting our effort to participate in purposeful dialogues with our community.

We will communicate with you as we interrogate and shift our greater organization towards equity and justice.  

— AIGA Boston Board of Directors

By AIGA Boston
Published June 26, 2020