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Women in Design Award of Excellence: 20th Anniversary

2019 Announcement WID high res

Image courtesy of Women In Design.

The year 2020 marks the 20th Anniversary of the WID Award of Excellence! For two decades, we have been inspired and astounded by the incredible Awardees. To mark this significant milestone, the Women In Design Community is curating an exhibition—IMPACT—to reflect, honor and share the collective impact the recipients have made on our broader community.

On display in the BSA Space Salt Gallery in the Spring of 2020, the exhibition coincides with International Women’s Day. It will be complemented by a range of programming that seeks to reinforce the qualities that are honored through the award: The award is presented in recognition of a person who has enhanced one’s own life in design, whose work exemplifies the best of process and product, and who uses a position of achievement to give back to the design field and to the community at large.

The WID Award of Excellence was an initiative born out of a simple question—what might an awards program look like if it reflected the values of the women in the field? What emerged was an award that recognizes design excellence, but in equal parts journey and character. It considers how the Awardees impact the built world, and also how they use their position to positively influence those around them. It is about contributing in a way that is bigger than a single person.

Much has changed in the two decades that have passed since the inception of this award, and yet we find much progress left to be made. While our industry continues to grapple with issues of gender equity, we also are experiencing a cultural shift that expects more inclusivity and challenges the stereotypes that have for so many generations stifled women’s advancement. And as we evolve, we are seeing that meaningful impact transcends the singular hero(ine); it creates positive changes in our communities.

IMPACT will reveal how women have been a force within the design industry for countless years, and that they exist in the names and faces of the awardees, both accessible and aspirational. The exhibition is not about a single woman, but a community of women who are present and powerful, who influence our future world and inspire our future leaders. It is about reflecting back while also looking forward—to the young woman establishing herself in the field, to the little girl who likes to tinker, and to the young boy who may find heroines as readily available and inspirational as heroes. It will showcase how great design can be transformative to communities, as well as how we must inspire and support one another as we strive toward excellence.

Finally, IMPACT will tie generations of creatives together, embracing how many different pathways stitch together to create a vast and inclusive network that shapes our environment. Awardees represent a breadth of disciplines—architects, landscape architects, engineers, developers, artists, and educators, among others—all with important contributions to make in our evolving world. The challenges we will face in the next 20 years will benefit from this collective expertise, and IMPACT will coalesce all perspectives to tackle profound issues, model meaningful equity, and inspire true excellence.

About Women In Design (WID)

Women In Design is a multifaceted interdisciplinary community focused on creating opportunities for networking, professional development, continuing education, mentorship and community recognition. This Knowledge Community of the Boston Society of Architects/AIA celebrates and encourages the success and leadership of women in the design community.

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