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Each year, WiD organizes a full day symposium to be held as part of the ArchitectureBoston Expo (ABX). Focused around a theme, the day starts with a keynote breakfast which frames the discussion and brings together diverse viewpoints on the topic. The rest of the day offers workshops that dig deeper into the issues, the presentation of the “Women in Design Award of Excellence” at a celebratory lunch, and a social hour on the expo floor. The symposium offers WiD an outlet to broadcast its values to the wider Boston community with quality programming, while giving a platform to the great women designers and work within our community.

In efforts to engage the community, WiD has developed a scholarship program which allows students and professionals to attend the symposium.  Paid for by sponsors and selected by the ABX Sub-Committee, it invites professionals to join the conversation who might otherwise would not be able to attend. Additionally, all fundraising beyond the symposium expenses are donated to Rosie’s Place, a local women’s shelter.
The ABX Sub-Committee plans and organizes the entire day: defining the topic, developing the call-for-proposals, selecting the workshops, organizing the keynote and selecting its speakers, selecting scholarship recipients, soliciting sponsorships for the symposium, and coordinating the day’s events with the BSA and the WiD Awards Sub-Committee.
Past topics

2018: From the Ground Up, Grassroots Initiatives
2017: Envisioning the Future
2016: In the Public’s Interest
2015: Research Innovate Design
2014: Creative Entrepreneurship
2013: The Value of Design
2012: Software Integration in Practice
2010: Design (R)Evolution

Charlotte Bouvier /
Mary McCarthy /
Marin Braco /

Save the Date! Join WiD at our annual Symposium at ABX. This year the symposium will be on November 29th and explore the topic of From the Ground Up: Grassroots Initiatives

Register Scholarships

In recent years grassroots movements have increased as people seek to fill voids in social, policy, and implementation aspects of the built environment. Grassroots movements are often initiated in the public realm, with architects and designers playing a role alongside other professionals and members of the public to achieve a community, regional, or even national goal. 

Whatever the goal of grassroots movements- whether to change policy, to support disadvantaged groups, or to add physically to the built environment- there are common challenges with identifying a need, building support, growing effectively, and ultimately implementing measures to address the need.

Symposium Schedule:

WID 01 – From the Ground Up: Grassroots Initiatives- Women in Design Keynote

Time 8:30-10:30am

In this keynote discussion we bring together architectural practitioners, educators, and community engagement professionals to explore the genesis, execution, and growth of grassroots movements as they relate to the design community along with the skills that we as designers can bring to their success.

Speakers:           Yanel de Angel, Associate Principal, Perkins + Will

Kristen Chin, Rose Architectural Fellow 2017-2019

Courtney Sharpe, Director of Cultural Planning, City of Boston Office of Arts and Culture

Jennie Stephens, Director, Northeastern University School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs

Moderator:         Jennifer Hardy, Associates, Associate, Leers Weinzapfel Associates

TH22 - Organizing to Address Youth Homelessness

Time 11:00am-12:30pm

Y2Y Harvard Square, a student-run space for homeless young adults, utilizes a youth-to-youth model to
provide community, shelter, and services in a gender inclusive space. Planned and designed with young
adults to feel like a modern hostel, rather than a shelter, Y2Y has gender-neutral custom-built ‘capsule’ bunks with shutters for privacy, perforated walls for supervision, and individual storage units, lamps and
charging stations.

Speakers:           Rashmi Ramaswamy, Principal at SHED studio

Gail Sullivan, Managing Principal & President at Studio G Architects

Sam Greenberg, Co-Founder at Y2Y

WD05 - Women in Design Award of Excellence Ceremony & Luncheon

Time 1:00pm-2:30pm

The Women in Design Award of Excellence honors individuals who exhibit exceptional achievement in person, process, product and position in design for the for the built environment in the New England area. During this luncheon, we present the award to this year’s winners and hear from them about design, the design community, and the path that made them the truly special individuals we are honoring. Join us for this truly inspiring celebration. 

Award Recipients: Deneen Crosby, Principal – Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge

    Uma Ramanathan, AIA, Principal – Shepley Bulfinch

    Renee Loth, Editor – ArchitectureBoston

TH46 - Lessons from Grassroots Design Build for Professional Practice

Time 3:30-5:00pm

Once considered only an “alternative” project delivery method, community-driven design build projects can provide powerful lessons and insight into more traditional processes. Join Miriam Gee of Placetailor and Sam Batchelor of designLAB architects for stories and lessons from the job sites of community-driven design/build projects. Miriam and Sam share roots in Steve Badanes’ University of Washington Neighborhood Design/Build Studio. Collectively, they have co-taught and collaborated on over two dozen student-lead and non-profit design/build projects over the past ten years in academia and professional practice. This workshop will be a high-energy overview of how the A/E/C industry can benefit from these grassroots processes, followed by a hands-on community engagement and design/build that use the consensus-driven design methodology.

Speakers:               Miriam Gee, Architect, Co-Everything, Build Lightly Studio, Placetailor

     Sam Batchelor, Partner, designLAB architects

WD09 – Women in Design Happy Hour

5:00pm to 6:00pm

Join us as we wrap up the symposium with a Happy Hour on the show floor. Network with your colleagues, enjoy a cocktail, and discuss the ways you envision Grassroots Initiatives changing the world for the better. At the happy hour we will have a donation box and information available about Rosie’s Place, a charity that WiD supports annually. Rosie’s Place is a women's shelter in Boston that provides a safe and nurturing environment where poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity, and find security in their lives. Join us and help support this worthy cause and great organization. (Free and open to all with access to the Expo floor. Cash bar.)


Other WID initiatives at ABX

Scholarship: Women in Design ABX Symposium 2018 Scholarships

Women In Design (WiD) celebrates and encourages success and leadership for women in the design community. As such, we offer full-day scholarships for student and design professionals to attend the ABX symposium, “From the Ground Up: Grassroots Initiatives,” November 29, 2018. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on the essay application accessed through the ABX website: For questions, contact applications due October 30

How We Work Survey Results:

Curious about how satisfied your peers are with the office policies that affect their daily lives – their time off, flexibility, and parental leave?  The How We Work team was too, so they polled designers in the greater Boston area to find out more. Stop by this interactive exhibit to learn about what they found and add your ideas to the conversation. The How We Work team will be on hand to answer questions, discuss satisfaction results for each policy, and share a special resource for taking this conversation back to your office. Come see us during the symposium in the BSA space!


Thank you to our Sponsors: