A mini-symposium in celebration of Black History Month at Virginia Tech will explore the role of African-Americans in contemporary industrial and product design.

The two-day symposium is called "Everything but the Kitchen Sink:  Two Perspectives on African-American Involvement in Product Design and Development."

Charles "Chuck" Harrison, a noted African-American industrial designer, and Omar Bailey, an emerging footwear designer, are among the participants.

The intent of this symposium is to highlight the achievements of African-Americans in product design and to showcase the impact and power of diverse perspectives and viewpoints in informing design.  

Sponsored by Virginia Tech's Colleges of Engineering and Architecture and Urban Studies, organizers of the symposium are Woodrow Winchester III, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering, and Ed Dorsa, associate professor of the industrial design department and assistant director of the School of Architecture and Design.

"As a good number of both engineering and industrial design students enter product development and support roles upon graduation, the value of this symposium is immense. It exposes our students to the design perspective in product development and provides awareness of the value of diversity within multidisciplinary design contexts," Winchester said.

The first symposium will be on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and feature Harrison.  He will provide studio critiques with industrial design from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in Burchard Hall. He will host a second session on open studio reflections with engineering and industrial design students in Whittemore 518 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. as a component of the industrial and systems engineering graduate course, Human-Computer Systems.  

At 7 p.m. Harrison will hold an open lecture in Hancock 100.

The second symposium will be on Wednesday, Feb. 29 and feature Bailey. He will host an open session on product design and development with both engineering and industrial design students in Whittemore 518 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., also as a component of Human-Computer Systems.