interior designers of canada designers d'intérieur du canada

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Behind Closed Doors: Racial Disparities in Design – Part 2

October 15 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Tune in for a candid conversation between Ian Rolston, Owner and Director of Decanthropy, and Michael Lee Poy, Assistant Professor of Design at OCAD University, on the topic of racial disparities within Canada’s interior design industry in IDC’s second town hall on racial disparities.

The discussion will focus on how education, professional practice and advocacy work can begin to address structural racism with established practices within the industry.


Ian Rolston is a creative soul, inspired by connecting humanity to what matters most. As a design director, principal, thought leader and speaker, Rolston has worked with transformative firms in Canada and in the U.S. across multiple sectors such as Hospitality, Education, Transportation, Retail, Corporate and Residential. Rolston has collaborated with leaders of industry across three continents.

Now collaborating with Decanthropy, a platform for new thinking in the inclusive design space, Rolston develops content that transforms the creative process for people, organizations and businesses. As “Lead Decanthropist,” Rolston helps leadership teams innovate with clarity, passion and consideration to distinguish collaborators’ spaces in the marketplace. Rolston is passionate about compelling stories, architectural discipline, and innovation. His personal mandate is to inspire and support collaborators to create solutions that make a difference.

Michael Lee Poy is an Afro-Caribbean artist-activist and architect in Trinidad and Tobago. His practice and interests are centered on post-colonial Caribbean design and fabrication in the festival arts – especially Carnival. A graduate of Pratt Institute of Technology in architecture (B. Arch.) and the Yale Graduate School of Architecture, Environmental Design (MED), Michael aims to use interdisciplinarity to augment the innovative, creative, and collaborative process of design.

Since 2015, Michael has been teaching the Hero’s Journey process as a design curriculum for graduate students in the Creative Design Entrepreneurship (CDEN) program in the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus. By introducing the class to familiar and unfamiliar local icons, Michael actively decolonizes learning, and deconstructs the “expert” paradigm. He does this in order to generate and inspire new and sovereign knowledge – allowing students from various backgrounds and disciplines to delve into both their historical and creative psyches.

For the past five years, Michael has been incubating the Moko Jumbie Mas Camp workshops for children aged 7-17. The masquerade (mas) camps were designed and implemented as socially conscious design/build and fabrication/studio/lab workshops. They operate like a small design incubator/facilitator – just like typical Carnival mas camps. The students learn leadership training, team building, and balance and acrobatics. Eventually, the older students become experts and mentors for the younger ones.

Michael’s architectural and design portfolio includes two buildings at the UWI, St. Augustine campus, the Trinidad Hilton Conference Centre port cochère, in addition to numerous commercial interiors throughout the island. He was co-chair of the UWI Ministry of Design: From Cottage Industry to State Enterprise Symposium (2015); and his work has been featured in Caribbean Beat Magazine (January 2018).

Michael is currently an assistant Professor of Design at Ontario College of Design University (OCAD U) in the Environmental and Industrial Design programs. He recently joined the Society for Experiential Graphic Designs (SEGD) professional organization as a member of the Academic Task Force team.





October 15
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Interior Designers of Canada