Changing the culture of the architecture profession is key to creating equity in the profession and in the built environment.

The Culture Change Initiative is an intensive and ongoing effort to examine the current state of the culture of the profession, to define the desired culture, and to accelerate progress in achieving that desired culture.

This multi-year research effort, led by AIA Minnesota and prompted by the #metoo movement, has involved deep engagement with more than 70 demographically diverse architects, architectural designers, and students. The research leveraged insights from the AIA Guides of Equitable Practice, as well as systems thinking, complexity theory, adaptive leadership, and intercultural development.

The outcomes of this research have been shared with dozens of firms, schools of architecture, and architecture organizations since its findings were unveiled in November 2020. To apply the findings in accelerating culture change, AIA Minnesota launched a national “community of practice” in 2021. Members of the Community of Practice for Culture Change take action based on the research, including observing patterns of behavior within the profession, experimenting with systems interventions, and sharing learnings from those experiments.

AIA Minnesota is currently sharing the CCI work through virtual presentations led by CCI Planning Team members Anna Pravinata, Emilie Kopp, PaviElle French, Elizabeth Turner, and Mary-Margaret Zindren. These sessions are offered free of charge, to any firm or organization within the Architecture profession.

This presentation and this initiative are not just for firm leaders – there are opportunities for all to contribute to creating the desired culture of the profession, for the betterment of the architecture community and the broader public we all serve. We have successfully reached 30+ architecture firms, 20+ Universities, and more than a dozen architecture associations, reaching more than 15,000 people, to date.

Once you have received a CCI presentation, you will be able to request the Culture Change Initiative Slide deck and related materials. You will also be invited to join the Community of Practice for Culture Change.

This is everyone’s work. There are opportunities for all to contribute to creating the desired culture of the profession — for the betterment of the architecture community and the broader public we all serve.

Community of Practice for Culture Change (CPCC)
The CPCC is driven by doing and learning. As we engage our whole person in practice, our identities dynamically encompass multiple perspectives. We bring all of that to the work of the community, which contributes to the strength of the group’s practice and to the negotiation of new meanings.

Members of this group bring their identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, ability, and geography, as well as histories related to:

  • being within the profession of architecture;
  • completing the Foundations of Intercultural Development program;
  • completing the National Intercultural Leadership Program; and/or
  • attending an AIA Minnesota Culture Change Initiative presentation, where learnings from hundreds of hours of conversations with members of the profession are shared, the desired culture of the profession is defined, and leverage points analysis of the system of the profession is shared.

A Community of Practice is different from a task force or a committee. It’s a group of people working together to:

  1. Resolve conflicts generated by institutions and systems;
  2. Create a communal memory and base of knowledge through assignments and experimentation;
  3. Help newcomers join the community by participating in its practice;
  4. Generate specific perspectives that help accomplish what needs to be done; and
  5. Create an atmosphere where learnings and experiences of one’s individual work life are woven into rituals, customs, and rhythms of community life.

A community of practice is a resource for continued shared history of practice. Where the practice of applying learnings, sharing impacts, refining approaches, and applying learnings again becomes the shared history of the group over time. The processes, policies, and goals are important but, it is the engagement within practice that produces results.

A community of practice requires bringing your full self to the work, however you chose to participate. It is cultivated through multiple levels of involvement, therefore making it possible for participants’ engagement to ebb and flow in order to also meet the demands of the profession.

The CPCC is able to meet you where you are in the work, and to respect your level of involvement. We meet every two months and the meetings are 90-minutes in length. For each meeting of the CPCC meeting, two iterations – two options for the day and time – of the meeting are offered, in order to best accommodate schedules. Currently, we have 75 active members that engage in meetings based on what fits their schedule.

How To Join The CPCC, or Request A Presentation

The Community of Practice for Culture Change is the locus of ‘real work’ to create a culture in architecture that is authentic, inclusive, and collaborative. We highly encourage you to sign up for the CPCC. Please contact AIA Minnesota’s Equity, Youth Outreach & Operations Coordinator, PaviElle French, at with any inquiries about and/or requests for the Culture Change Initiative presentation, or joining the CPCC.