Otis College to Host Fourth Annual BIPOC Student Summit

Students, Community, News | January 31, 2024

BIPOC Student Summit Graphic

Otis College of Art and Design’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will host its fourth annual Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Student Summit on campus on Saturday, February 24, 2024. The free event is open to all enrolled Otis students.

The Summit’s goal is to create a community space for BIPOC-identified students to connect around shared or similar identities while addressing the realities of being a person of color within creative sectors. The program will focus on uplifting and empowering BIPOC voices through dialogue on topics of personal development, professional growth, and post-graduation opportunities. One session, “Developing Your Brand Identity as an Artist/Designer,” will provide students the tools and strategies to build upon and enhance their professional identity. In another session, “Career Networking as a BIPOC Creative,” the College’s Career Services team will present networking strategies and resources that specifically support BIPOC creatives.

This year’s featured speakers are Ed Duncan, Senior Vice President of Design for Games/Action Figures/Plush/Inventor Relations at Mattel, Inc., and award-winning filmmaker Dawn Porter. 

Duncan serves as Senior Vice President of Design at Mattel, with responsibility for action figures, games, and plush design, as well as overseeing Mattel’s Inventor Relations team. Prior to joining Mattel, Duncan led design for Takara-Tomy’s efforts outside of Japan, held several jobs on Disney Consumer Products’ Toys team, and worked as a designer and design leader at Fisher-Price and Hasbro. 

Porter is a director and producer whose critically acclaimed projects have impacted generations of people from all walks of life. A two-time Sundance film festival director, Porter has created work featured on HBO, Netflix, ESPN, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, and MTV Films, among many other platforms. She has been recognized with career achievement awards from the Hamptons and Mill Valley film festivals, is the recipient of the 2022 Critics Choice Documentary Awards “Impact Award,” and was an honoree at the 2022 Gracies Leadership Awards. Porter lectures at universities across the nation, a passion she honed during her time as professor and Head of the Documentary Program at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. She holds honorary degrees from Swarthmore College and Simmons University. 

In addition to the featured speakers, the program will include interactive panels of BIPOC creative professionals from Riot Games, Purpose Toys, and  BLT Communications, as well as freelance artists and designers.

“Our students of color have noticed much more programming efforts that validate their experiences and have expressed appreciation for that,” says Nicholas Negrete, the newly-appointed Vice President of Students Affairs and Campus Diversity & Inclusion (Negrete was previously the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the College). “I have also heard from students that they have seen a much more diverse student population that has made them feel more connected and in community with each other, which contributes to an overall sense of belonging. This is huge when you think about what it means to make a place like Otis feel like your own.”

Interested must RSVP by February 16 to attend the 2024 BIPOC Student Summit.

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