Germane Barnes is the Principal of Studio Barnes, and Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Architecture Graduate Program at the University of Miami School of Architecture as well as the Director of the Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL). Barnes’ practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Believing strongly in design as a process, he approaches each condition imposed on a project as an opportunity for transformation.
Born in Chicago, IL, Germane Barnes received a Bachelor’s of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Architecture from Woodbury University where he was awarded the Thesis Prize for his project Symbiotic Territories: Architectural Investigations of Race, Identity, and Community.
His work has recently been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking 2021 exhibition, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, and the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. His project, Griot, was widely published, as a participant in Biennale Architectura 2023, Laboratory of the Future.
Renata Cherlise is a research-based artist, memory worker, and author who uses various mediums to explore themes of identity and familial interiors within the Black community. Her work reimagines themes in literature, history, and photography to render different perspectives of the Black experience. These ideas became the foundation for Black Archives, a multimedia platform that provides a dynamic accessibility to a Black past, present, and future.
Through Black Archives, Cherlise has partnered with organizations such as LINKNYC and Getty Images, to support several preservation initiatives including the Photo Archive Digitization Grant for HBCUs in addition to the launching of the Black History and Culture Collection. Earlier this year, Cherlise published her first book, Black Archives: A Photographic Celebration of Black Life (Ten Speed/Penguin Random House, Feb. 14), and continues to work as an archival consultant and producer on a myriad of film projects and documentaries.
Nina Cooke John
Nina is the founding principal of Studio Cooke John Architecture and Design, a multidisciplinary design studio that values placemaking as a way to transform relationships between people and the built environment.
Studio Cooke John’s Shadow of A Face, the new Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark, NJ, was unveiled in March 2023. The studio was awarded a 2021 AIA Merit Award for the public art installation, Point of Action, commissioned for the Flatiron public plazas in 2020 and currently on view at the Wassaic Project. Nina was named a 2022 United States Artists Fellow. Her work has also been featured in Architectural Record, Madame Architect, The New York Times, Dwell, NBC’s Open House, the Center for Architecture’s 2018 exhibition, Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture and PBS NewsHour Weekend.
Nina earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University. She now teaches at Columbia University.
Bryan Mason is an accomplished writer, interior and product designer and together with his wife, Jeanine Hays, is the founder and creative director of AphroChic, a brand dedicated to celebrating design, culture, creativity, health and wellness throughout the African Diaspora. An academic by training, Bryan is a graduate of Drexel University, and holds M.A.s in Systematic Philosophical Theology and African Diaspora Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.
Bryan has presented at the University of California African Studies Multi-Campus Research Group and the African Studies Association Conference in Philadelphia. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of AphroChic magazine, a quarterly publication focused on the lifestyle and culture of the African Diaspora.
Among his contributions to the magazine, Bryan writes the Journey to Diaspora series, exploring the history and theory of the African Diaspora concept. A published author, Bryan has released two books with Penguin Random House together with his wife, Jeanine Hays: REMIX: Decorating with Culture, Objects and Soul published in 2013 and APHROCHIC: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home published in 2022.