Landscape Architecture Student Angeles Margarida Wins 2021 Bill Millsap Fellowship and Promotes Social Justice for Homelessness
Angeles Margarida, Master of Landscape Architecture student, received the 2021 Bill Millsap Fellowship: The Art of Landscape Architecture from the Architecture and Design Foundation. The fellowship awarded Angeles with $2,500 to help facilitate a research project, an experiment, or a supplemental experience in art or creative landscape expression. The foundation chose Angeles amongst numerous and impressive applications for this year’s fellowship. The fellowship provides a stipend to “inspire students and young professionals in their study of the intersection of art, landscape architecture, and the cultural and personal relationships inspired by these pursuits.” The fellowship can fund proposals, such as travel, temporary installations, art creations, digital conceptualization, research, interviews, or other collaborative experiences. Angeles applied to the fellowship after one of her Landscape Architecture professors informed her about the opportunity, which was “a perfect fit” to fund her thesis project.
Angeles explains how her parents believed that she would become a lawyer since she always defended others. However, her experience as a graduate student in the Landscape Architecture program continues to fuel her passion for social justice. She participated in a Summer 2019 course that allowed a group of students and professors to travel and work with vulnerable communities in Tanzania, Africa. After Angeles’ experience, she was inspired to work on a thesis project focused on vulnerable communities. She is familiar with the DFW Metroplex after being a Texas resident for more than eight years, so she recognized the predominance of people living with homelessness and decided to learn more about them. Angeles was bothered by the negativity surrounding the topic of homelessness and states that “people experiencing homelessness have historically been marginalized and excluded from their communities.” Therefore, Angeles sought a mission to provide a voice for the homeless community through her thesis project.
Angeles states that “urban landscapes in the United States, such as Dallas, Texas, do not offer people experiencing homelessness public spaces where their voices and stories can be heard and represented.” Additionally, homeless individuals “are usually unwelcome and excluded from public spaces, such as parks and sidewalks.” These observations inspired Angeles’ thesis project to provide a platform for artists who have experienced homelessness so they can “share their voices and empower this underserved community.” She collaborated with five artists who have experienced homelessness to explore their personal narratives with others. The five artists shared their personal experiences with homelessness in Dallas, Texas through a temporary public art installation to empower those experiencing homelessness and to change the community’s perception of homelessness. Angeles’ project featured a public art element inspired by the public displays created during the Black Lives Matter movement because she hoped that her project would make the same level of impact on the public.
Once Angeles graduates in Fall 2021, she plans to work with a landscape architecture firm that aids communities in meaningful ways whether she stays in the DFW metroplex or explores new regions. However, Angeles is mostly looking forward to graduating and taking a break to reset and relax until the future provides more opportunities for her to create change for social justice.