Graduate Architecture

Sharon E. Sutton: Decolonizing the City-Making Professions: Learning from the Dreams and Defeats of the 1960s

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 6:30pm
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Virtual Event

Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA is a distinguished visiting professor of architecture at Parsons School of Design and has also served on the faculties of Columbia University, Pratt Institute, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. She was the twelfth African American woman to be licensed to practice architecture, the first to be promoted to full professor of architecture, and the second to be elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects. 

Dr. Sutton's scholarship explores America's continuing struggle for racial justice.  A recent book, When Ivory Towers Were Black: A Story about Race in Americas Cities and Universities, portrays an audacious affirmative action effort at Columbia University during the Civil Rights Movement. A forthcoming book (Fordham 2021), A Pedagogy of Hope: Pursuing Democracy’s Promise through Place-Based Activism, characterizes the struggles of low-income youth to improve their rundown surroundings as a new form of activism. 

Early in her career, Dr. Sutton worked as a professional musician in New York City, most notably with the original cast of Man of La Mancha. Her fine art is in the Library of Congress and has been widely exhibited and collected. She holds five academic degrees—in music, architecture, philosophy, and psychology—and has studied graphic art internationally.  She has been a keynote speaker at conferences in five disciplines and a distinguished lecturer and guest studio critic at more than 100 colleges and universities internationally. 

Dr. Sutton received the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award from the American Institute of Architects, the Medal of Honor from both the New York and Seattle chapters of that organization, and the Oculus Award from the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.  She is a distinguished professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and an inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. 

This virtual lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is now open.

If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email news@design.upenn.edu to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.