The Visibility Project II

Yale School of Architecture

The Visibility Project is a student initiative at the Yale School of Architecture that seeks to name and analyze the deeply entrenched prejudices and biases that exist within architectural institutions, beginning with our own.

The first report, published in the summer of 2020, took a broad look at the experiences of YSoA students over time. Responses from alumni and current students helped identify long-term inequities at the school, providing a shared starting point for introspection.

Building upon this foundation, the Visibility Project II aims to understand how ethnicity, gender, and class impact learning at our school, with a focus on the 2020–2021 academic year. The challenges of this particular year, during which the COVID-19 pandemic defined our educations, were further inflected by the uncertainty, isolation, and disembodiment of remote or hybrid learning, complex factors that demanded a multi-dimensional approach to identity. We newly considered students’ nationalities, which, due to travel and border restrictions, directly impacted where they were able to learn, be in community, and access resources. Capturing data on financial precarity, mental health, and language fluency also deepened our analysis of racialized experiences at YSoA. By quoting students directly, we hope to make visible the embodied experiences of students in their own words.

By highlighting both persistent inequities in our learning environment and the steps taken in the past year toward institutional change, we hope this second edition of the Visibility Project facilitates a continuing dialogue amongst and between the student body, members of faculty, and the administration.

Methodology

We designed the survey to capture both quantitative and qualitative data about the student experience at YSoA during the 2020–2021 academic year. Eighty-five current and recently graduated students responded. For each question, the total distribution of responses is presented first, followed by a further breakdown by race, nationality, gender, or location where noted. In order to reflect a variety of backgrounds and opinions, the excerpted written responses correspond to the number of respondents who shared their thoughts on a given topic, as well as the demographic proportions of survey respondents in general. Some written responses have been edited for length and clarity.

View the survey itself and a summary of the quantitative results.

Survey Respondents

us bipoc

19

us white

26

international bipoc

35

international white

4

Female

48

Male

35

Non-Binary

1

Prefer not to answer

1

Where respondents lived during the 2020-2021 academic year:

±0 hours New Haven Studio courses meet from 2–6pm
±0 hours Brooklyn, NY
Pittsburgh, PA
Toronto, CANADA 2–6pm
±1 hours Quito, ECUADOR 1–5pm
±3 hours Pasadena, CA
Arcata, CA
Vancouver, CANADA 2–7pm
±5 hours London, UNITED KINGDOM 7pm–1am
±8 hours Dubai, UAE
Rabat, MOROCCO 10pm–4am
±9 hours Karachi, PAKISTAN
New Delhi, INDIA 11pm–3am
±12 hours Suzhou, CHINA
Shanghai, CHINA
Hong Kong 2–6am
±13 hours Seoul, KOREA 3–7am
±14 hours Brisbane, AUSTRALIA 4–8am

How do race and gender affect student experience at YSoA?

To view survey results, click or scroll through.

How does race and gender affect student experience at YSoA?

42% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

19% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of both my race and gender.

15% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my gender, not race.

24% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my race, not gender.

white

27% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my gender, not race.

bipoc

8% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my gender, not race.

white

10% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my race, not gender.

bipoc

32% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my race, not gender.

us

18% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my race, not gender.

international

33% I feel I received different treatment on a regular basis because of my race, not gender.

us

36% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

international

49% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

us

36% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

international

49% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

bipoc

26% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

bipoc

47% I do not feel I received different treatment because of either my race or gender.

Overall, 57% of students feel that they received differential treatment on a regular basis because of their race, gender, or both. Race is identified as the predominant reason that such treatment occurs.

Notably, perception of the impacts of race and gender varies between US and international BIPOC student respondents. While only 26% of US BIPOC students feel that they do not receive differential treatment due to race or gender—well below the overall percentage of 42%—this number rises to 47% when only international BIPOC responses are considered. This distinction conveys how experience is filtered through cultural understandings of what constitutes differential treatment—a nuance that is echoed throughout this project.

To illuminate how both differential treatment—and divergent perceptions of it—manifest in daily life, the following results highlight commonalities and disparities in experience along the dimensions of race and gender, as well as nationality and location. We hope to shed light on how the YSoA student experience is affected by the following factors:


i. A COVID Year
ii. Faculty & Student Dynamics
iii. Opportunities & Resources
iv. The Institution

Index


The Visibility Team


  • Project Leads:

    Iris You
    Sarah Kim


  • Design & Development:

    Mianwei Wang


  • Contributors:

    Adare Brown
    Audrey Tseng Fischer
    Clare Fentress
    Hannah Mayer Baydoun
    Hannah Tjaden
    Jerry Chow
    Josh Greene
    Katie Colford

  • Student Initiatives