Elgin Cleckley Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design, University of Virginia Director of Design Justice, UVA Equity Center

Public Lecture Title: _mpathic design: Perspectives on Creating Inclusive Spaces
Thursday, February 1, 2024, 5:00 pm, Stackhouse Theater
Presented by the Mudd Center for Ethics and the DeLaney Center

Access to the recording of the event will be available for the W&L community.

Elgin Cleckley's work operates at the intersections of identity, culture, history, memory, and place. His research follows a self-formulated empathic design thinking methodology, a hybrid approach to deep empathy, uncovering the layers of a site, cultural landscape, and the built environment. Through the method, an empathic approach to untold narratives and unheard voices, finds design response, meeting the design activism needed in noninclusive architectures. The methodology provides tangible toolkits and frameworks for developing belonging in public space.

Cleckley is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design with appointments in the School of Education and Human Development and the School of Nursing. He is the Director of Design Justice at UVA's Equity Center (Democracy Initiative Center for the Redress of Inequity Through Community-Engaged Scholarship), where he leads the school's National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Project Pipeline: Architecture Mentorship Program.

He is the principal of _mpathic design, an award-winning firm that uses evidence-based methods grounded in cultural competency, empathy, and human-centered design to address projects in academic, community, and professional contexts. _mpathic design has presented at over eighty national and international conferences in architecture, design, education, and its practice includes collaborations with Dartmouth, The Trace (NYC), Farmers Footprint, Albemarle County Public Schools, City of Lynchburg, and the Albemarle County Office of Equity and Diversity, for the Charlottesville Memorial for Peace and Justice (with the Equal Justice Initiative). _mpathic design recently exhibited at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Cleckley studied architecture at the University of Virginia ('93) and Princeton University ('95). Before joining the UVA faculty in 2016, Elgin was the 3D Group Leader and Design Coordinator at the Ontario Science Centre (Toronto), Science Content and Design Department, and Agents of Change Initiative (2001-2016). His work has been supported through numerous fellowships, including most recently from MacDowell (2022) and the Mellon Foundation (2023).

Cleckley is a recipient of UVA's Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award (the highest teaching award an Assistant Professor can receive at the University), UVA's Distinguished Public Scholar Award, and the Armstead Robinson Faculty Award. He is a vital supporter of the UVA School of Architecture's Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) initiatives and an integral part of the team creating the school's named scholarships and BIPOC mentoring program.