MONTCLAIR, NJ — Watchung Booksellers will host Jennifer Rittner and Kelly Walters, co-editors of “The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Expression & Reflection” as part of its ongoing “Evening with the Authors” virtual events. They’ll be in conversation with architect and designer Nina Cooke John on Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m.

Excluded from traditional design history and educational canons that heavily favor European modernist influences, the work and experiences of Black designers have been systematically overlooked in the profession for decades. However, given the national focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the aftermath of the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, educators, practitioners, and students now have the opportunity—as well as the social and political momentum—to make long-term, systemic changes in design education, research, and practice, reclaiming the contributions of Black designers in the process.

“The Black Experience in Design” is an anthology centering a range of perspectives, spotlights teaching practices, research, stories, and conversations from a Black/African diasporic lens. Through the voices represented, this text exemplifies the inherently collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of design, serving as both inspiration and a catalyst for the next generation of creative minds tasked with imagining, shaping, and designing our future.

Jennifer Rittner

Jennifer Rittner is a writer, educator and communications strategist currently serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design.

Kelly Walters

Kelly Walters is a designer, educator and founder of the multidisciplinary design studio Bright Polka Dot. and an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the BFA Communication Design Program at Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York.

Nina Cooke John

Nina Cooke John is the founding principal of Studio Cooke John Architecture and Design and teaches at Parsons School of Design and Columbia University.

The event is free. Register at or at