Graphic Design Professor At The University Of Illinois Creates An Anti-racist Framework

Updated: 5 days ago

By, Zulema Herrera

Graphic design professors Terresa Moses of the University of Minnesota and Lisa Mercer of the University of Illinois are using a design research process called, "Racism Untaught."

Racism Untaught's process provides educational workshops for the academic realm and within industries to address diversity and inclusion. It was formed to create more spaces for conversations relating to race and racial issues—something the co-founders felt was not addressed enough.

According to their profiles, co-founder Terresa Moses is a Black queer woman who seeks liberation of Black and brown people through art and design. At the University of Minnesota she is the Creative Director of the social justice-based design studio, "Blackbird Revolt", and is part of a project called Project Naptural; a platform to empower Black women's self identity and their natural hair.

Lisa Mercer is graphic design professor at the University of Illinois whose research incorporates design interventions for social impact. She identifies as a cisgender mixed-race person of color with Mexican ethnicity, and states her pride of her heritage. Both came together and developed the toolkit about three years ago which has reached higher demand given the Black Lives Matter protests.

Their workshops focus on three topics:

  1. Analyzing and identifying artifacts of Racialized Design, which is considered "more obvious."

  2. Observing shared experiences of microaggressions and implicit bias; "less obvious."

  3. Addressing systemic forms of racism and how the society/culture perpetuates it; "essentially invisible."

During an interview with the Illinois News Bureau, Mercer said she hopes to create a class using this framework at the University of Illinois; Spanish translations of the framework are currently being done by a graduate student. Additionally, they look forward to having these workshops available for grassroots community organizers to provide them the resources for anti-racist designs.

To learn more about Racism Untaught and the workshops they offer visit their website at:

You can also contact them via email here: getstarted(at)

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