Meet the diverse collection of young thinkers making up the inaugural class of New City Critics fellows
By Josh Niland|
Wednesday, Jun 1, 2022
The Architectural League of New York and Urban Design Forum have announced their inaugural cohort of New City Critics fellows. The program provides a slate of opportunities to a diverse body of writers in the hopes of empowering new voices critical to the dialogue surrounding the future development of cities.
In addition to $15,000, each fellow will have access to workshops, a mentorship program, writing opportunities, and research support overseen by the Forum and Urban Omnibus Editor-in-Chief Mariana Mogilevich.
“Who would begin a list of things architects should know with ‘the feel of cool marble under bare feet?’ The same person who believed ‘there is a danger in working in a single medium;’ founded The Grey City Journal as an undergraduate to critique the University of Chicago’s architectural plans; publish his own plans decades later; and design sustainable housing for the university’s South Side neighbors,” Joan Copjec said, speaking of the program’s inspiration Michael Sorkin, who served on the boards of both institutions for a number of years. “Persistent, optimistic and multi-talented, [he] combined lucid analysis with wit and imagination and an overriding sense that living means sharing one’s existence with others. The New City Critics program embodies his spirit and projects it into the future. It honors his name.”
The program is being funded by institutions like the NEA and The Graham Foundation in addition to architects Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, and Moshe Safdie. The jury was comprised of a group of writers that included LA Times critic Carolina A. Miranda. Charles H. Revson Foundation President Julie Sandorf said each will “help expand the future possibilities for the city at this pivotal moment.”
Scroll down to find out more about the first class of New City Critic fellows.
Sabina Sethi Unni, "an aspiring artist-scholar, researcher, and organizer passionate about cultivating participatory open spaces through public programming and planning. She is the co-founder of Fresh Lime Soda Productions, a South Asian theater ensemble. In her free time, she is a graduate student in urban planning at Columbia GSAPP."
Calil Arguedas-Russell, "a teacher and storyteller working through writings, videos, and lectures. They were previously awarded the Rhoda Lubalin Fellow at the Lubalin Center in New York. Currently they serve as a Gallery Assistant at Pace Gallery. When not doing any of the above, you can find Calil playing chess."
Erin Sheehy, "a writer, editor, artist, and teacher living in Brooklyn, New York. She is editor in chief of Facility, a print magazine about bathrooms. Facility sees the bathroom as a small but interesting window through which to view society."
Emma Osore, "a Brooklyn-based participatory designer, social impact entrepreneur, and mixed-media artist. With an interest in people-centered systems change, she uses co-design and Black liberation principles to help creatives transform culture. Today, she is a founding member of the BlackSpace Urbanist Collective where she is now its first Co-Managing Director."
Dr. Sophonie Milande Joseph, "a visual artist and community planner. She uses conceptual photography and documentary filmmaking as tools to conduct visual sociology. Her commitment to social equity informs a transformative worldview and involvement with grassroots initiatives in Haiti and North America. She is a current and founding board member of BlackSpace."
Alicia O. Ajayi, "an architectural designer, researcher, teacher, and writer based in NYC. Her work is led by a desire to uncover the layered complexities of people, place, and power. She is particularly interested in studying sites of erasure. She is currently the program strategist at BlackSpace Urbanist Collective."
Oscar Perry Abello, "a journalist in Washington Heights covering responses to economic injustice in urban areas across the country. He is currently senior economics correspondent at Next City, a national urban affairs magazine. Since 2010, Oscar’s reporting has also appeared in Fast Company, Yes! Magazine, Shelterforce and other outlets."
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