Black Design Leaders Grant

Funded by
Mechanism Ventures
Learn more about the Donor
$1,050
1 winner
Awarded
Winner
1
Finalists
6
Application Deadline
May 11, 2021
Winners Announced
Jun 11, 2021
Education Level
Graduate, Undergraduate
1
Contribution
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Ethnicity:
African American
Ethnicity:
African American

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

Inequality of opportunity is pronounced in the start-up world, where just 1% of start-ups receiving venture funding have Black founders and where the share of Black employees is around half that of the US population.

In support of building a more diverse and equitable start-up ecosystem, this scholarship is part of a series from Mechanism Ventures supporting Black students who are currently in or who aspire to pursue design roles at start-ups.

The Black Design Leaders Grant will be awarded to a Black student or recent graduate who plans on (or already is) pursuing a career in design at a start-up.

Students across any field of study or company are eligible to apply.

This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series.

Diversity and Inclusion
Selection Criteria:
Impact, Drive
$1,050
1 winner
Awarded
Winner
1
Finalists
6
Application Deadline
May 11, 2021
Winners Announced
Jun 11, 2021
Education Level
Graduate, Undergraduate
1
Contribution
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you hope to achieve in your career in design, and how are you preparing yourself to achieve it?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Melanie Douglas-Gonzalez
SUNY at Purchase CollegePelham, NY
Did you know that only 3% of designers are black? To see such a small number reported in the 2019 AIGA Design Census report shocked me. I chose to pursue design because of one thing other art forms lacked: market influence and consumer accessibility. Unlike other art practices, graphic design is unique in that whether we are aware of it or not, our everyday routines are shaped by design. Stop signs, crosswalk symbols, websites we visit, books and pamphlets we open, the apps in our cell phones- each and every one of those design decisions were made to engage user interaction. You don’t have to go anywhere to experience it, it is art and information placed at the end of your fingertips. Postcards I’ve touched have touched me. Every book covers your fingertips, postcards, acceptance letters, birthday cards, building signs, flyers, fridge magnets, it all ties directly to graphic design. I am incredibly passionate about figuring out these designs’ work and the roles that they play in our lives as consumers in a world surrounded by visual information. This profound interest in design has led me to my current studies at SUNY at Purchase College in New York. I am a designer and printmaker that uses shape, color, and movement to tell visual stories, and in the two years I’ve spent here I’ve been discovering my voice as an artist. I have discovered an interest in utilizing technology to expand my means of creativity. The most influential part of studies thus far has been releasing the power of representation in graphic media and the effects it can have on societal views. In my studies in Graphic Design history, I've learned that the lack of people of color represented in non-servant or rebellious roles in 1930’s media further abetted the societal negative views towards people of color. The visual language that dismissed black people as normal members of society was reflected in the attitudes towards them. Similarly, advertising has shaped societal beauty standards for women. The United States has a history of creating myths in graphical language which directly affects the way people view themselves and others around them. This has made me extremely aware of the importance of representation in graphic media. In my pursuit of a career in design, I want to change the narrative so that as a society we no longer view a myth as the "right way" to exist. Design has the power to change social opinion and that’s exactly what I desire to do. I desire to explore the boundaries of design and technology to shed light on global issues, partially the issues I’ve experienced first-hand as a queer person, as a black person, and as a woman: three social groups whose liberties are constantly being threatened in today’s society. I aspire to make works that are accessible that highlight these social groups in hopes of a more inclusive world. This scholarship would support me tremendously in achieving this. With the support of your organization. I will be able to further pursue my quests into design, explore the technological possibilities, and create work with a purpose that acts as a visual voice for marginalized communities. I believe with design I have the power to change the world, and I believe your organization’s support would help me achieve it.

FAQ

When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 11, 2021. Winners will be announced on Jun 11, 2021.

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