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INTtalk: Finding Homeplace: Exploring the Design Writings of bell hooks

November 14, 2023 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


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After finding a bell hooks article in the summer of 2022 entitled, Design: A Happening Life, interior designer Jessica Caldwell began exploring bell hooks’ writings for more of her thoughts on design and the material culture as it relates to the Black American experience. What followed her research was a number of essays spread across many of bell hooks’ books on social and cultural criticism. These essays explore race, home life, community, feminism and masculinity within the domestic built environment. Most importantly they all point to home being a place of spiritual shelter for People of Color.

In this presentation Jessica Caldwell will explore bell hooks’ essays and her assertion that black women have historically made homes a community of refuge and resistance. This perspective currently serves as inspiration for Jessica’s current research exploring black women’s interior lives and desire for creating home, space and communities that signal safety, affirmation and softness in both analog and digital spaces.

As a designer and educator, Jessica Caldwell believes that every place has a story waiting to be told and design is the pen she uses to tell them. For over 15 years, Jessica’s work has focused on the intersection of branding, creative placemaking and interior esign, with a body of work that includes luxury design for brands such as Tiffany & Co, Tory Burch and Bloomingdales. In the fall of 2020, she established FOLKE CREATIVE, a Brooklyn-based research and design studio. Through the work of FOLKE CREATIVE, Jessica continues to expand her creative practice’s mission to connect people to their places while also highlighting her commitment to bring cultural awareness and diversity to the built environment.

Jessica Caldwell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts with a concentration in Art History from Howard University and a Master’s of Art in Interior Design from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, both located in Washington, DC as well as a Certificate in 20th Century Design from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, England. In addition to her placemaking and design work, Jessica currently serves as an Adjunct Professor for Interior Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY and as an Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

IG @folkecreative