“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.”

  — Oscar Wilde,
The Picture of Dorian Gray

anti-black racism in pittsburgh

spring 2021


Create a map of the history, causes, and effects of institutionalized racism in Pittsburgh, and come up with potential interventions to try to alleviate the issue.


System Mapping


This was a group project. My groupmates and I started out by researching anti-Black racism in Pittsburgh as well as the general United States. Then we created a mind map, connecting the information we found. We sorted our research and our potential solutions (interventions) into timed categories: current, short term, and long term. We categorized our data points into social, technological, environmental, economic, and political areas, then added a historical lens.
Then we had to visualize our data. We started out by combining the timeline and categories, but that quickly became overcrowded in certain areas and sparse in others. We then took a Venn diagram tactic, which morphed into concentric circles split into different sections. From there, it was pretty easy to draw connections between different data points to show how various events are interconnected, as well as point out where interventions would be most effective.


While this project isn’t necessarily my favorite kind of work to do, I definitely learned a lot during this process. I’m always amazed at how different the results are when I work with others than they would when I work by myself.