SADAH professor of architectural design Jori Erdman received a 2023 Graham Foundation Grant

The Chicago-based Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters growth, development and exchange of ideas in the field of architecture

School of Art Design and Art History

by Cameryn Norris ('22)


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The James Madison University School of Art, Design and Art History recently congratulated Jori Erdman, professor of architecture, and Becky Beamer, associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Oslo Metropolitan University, on receiving a 2023 Graham Foundation Grant. The duo received the grant for their ongoing film project Witness: Design of the Tougaloo Center for Racial Justice and Equity.

The foundation has been awarding grants for nearly 80 years, producing various exhibitions, projects, and more. Erdman and Beamer were awarded alongside the 64 other grants to individuals. 

Jori Erdman
Jori Erdman

"Witness tells the story of a remarkable process and place that led to the creation and design of the Tougaloo Center for Racial Justice and Equity, a unique partnership between the Episcopal Church and the Jackson-based Tougaloo College, a historically Black college and university. It follows the design firm, Duvall Decker, as they deploy their 20 years of community engagement practice in the South to navigate the cultural connections and divides that are revealed among the various stakeholders. Through interviews and recorded meetings with the architects, Tougaloo College community members, and the Episcopal Church, the film explores the challenges and opportunities of addressing justice and equity through architecture and the design process. Woven throughout are scenes and images of the city of Jackson and the Tougaloo College campus, illustrating the significance of this project, in this place," shared Beamer and Erdman on their project profile on the Graham Foundation's website.

For more information Graham Foundation Grants to Individuals and on the film Witness: Design of the Tougaloo Center for Racial Justice and Equity by Becky Beamer and Jori Erdman, visit the Graham Foundation's website.

To learn more about JMU’s School of Art, Design and Art History and to follow its latest achievements, visit or follow it on FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

  • Information sourced from the Graham Foundation's website,
  • Thumbnail Image: "Witness: Design of the Tougaloo Center for Racial Justice and Equity," 2022. Digital film still. Courtesy Becky Beamer, Mississippi. Photo: Jori Erdman

Published: Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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