Racial Reconciliation and the Design Studio

Project Title: Racial Reconciliation and the Design Studio: Creating Pathways and Partnerships between Design, Virtual Reality and Social Justice

Team Members: Asha Kutty, Regis Kopper, Deborah Barnes, Lucinda Havenhand

Offices/Organizations Represented: Interior Architecture and Computer Science departments at UNCG; the Guilford County Remembrance Project (GCRP) and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum (ICRCM).

Project Abstract: This project proposes a partnership among the interior architecture and computer science departments at UNCG, the Guilford County Remembrance Project (GCRP) and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum (ICRCM). Student designs for a museum and memorial to honor Eugene Hairston, Guilford County’s documented lynch victim, that were created in spring’22 with the support of an UNCG Ashby Dialogue grant, will be converted into Virtual Reality (VR) walkthroughs. These VR walkthroughs and designs will be showcased in the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, as part of an initiative by the Guilford County Remembrance Project (GCRP), to engage in knowledge generation and healing around the topics of lynching in the United States. Research across several disciplines has demonstrated that immersive media can increase empathy, which is a prerequisite to social justice and healing. In addition to experiential immersion, local high school students will be collaborating with UNCG student mentors from Dr. Kutty’s and Dr. Kopper’s departments for discussions and problem-solving. The GCRP strives to deploy these strategies in socially responsive ways to encourage students to take an informed and active role in shaping the communities in which they live.