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March 2023

Design Matters Conference Wrap-Up

Earlier this month, AAO conducted its first in-person Design Matters Conference since 2019. Sixty-seven attendees gathered at the AIA New York/Center for Architecture, hailing from 46 different architecture organizations throughout New York City, the United States, and Europe. The intimate scale of the conference allowed for a terrific depth of conversation and easy to facilitate peer-to-peer connections.

As one attendee commented in our post-event survey: “Hearing from leaders in other organizations, especially in funding and the media, gave me highly valuable insight I wouldn't have received anywhere else… I came away with tools to advance my organization and move us forward in these uncertain times.” That was the goal!

Sessions covered issues of access and representation and collective impact by examining how we fund the work of architecture organizations; what issues we choose to prioritize; and how we present architecture and design through print and digital platforms. Sessions were not recorded for re-airing, but notes are being compiled for the attendees.

Many thanks to the numerous New York organizations that hosted us, and to the speakers, event sponsors, and program committee members who generously supported and shaped our meeting.  

At the conference, we also announced that AAO will be organizing a one-day virtual convening in late fall 2023, fueled by content from an open call to be issued this spring. Be on the lookout for more announcements in May!

April 20: Design Educators' Meeting (A+DEN) via Zoom

Design educators and interested AAO members are encouraged to attend our next affinity group meeting on Thursday, April 20, 12-1pm ET, co-hosted by AAO Board member John Comazzi (Associate Professor, University of Virginia Schools of Architecture + Education) and AAO Executive Director Michael Wood. 

At this meeting, we will provide a brief recap of the 2023 Design Matters Conference, and then focus on gathering input for organizing a separate gathering exclusively on design education. The feedback will give rise to either an in-person conference or a virtual meet-up in the coming months.

Advance registration required.


News briefs

An assortment of stories that caught our interest this month:

Speaking about architecture

Borrow this idea!
Open City holds public speaking workshops in London for anyone wanting to learn how to tell better stories about cities and buildings, and ultimately effect greater change. Individuals can join an evening session or teams can book a bespoke training. Open City also offers an 8-month public speaking course, The Golden Key Academy, specifically for those interested in developing tours about architecture and urban issues.



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The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) is an international member-based network that connects, supports, and advocates for organizations and individuals around the world devoted to advancing the role of architecture, planning, and design in service to society. Learn more at

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