Murphy received the Diversity Achievement Award, which recognizes work in creating effective methods and models to achieve greater diversity — specifically incorporating the participation and contributions of historically under-represented groups or contexts — in curricula, school personnel, and student bodies.
The ACSA recognized Murphy for “An Architectural Imaginary of Identity and Exclusion: Drawing Out the Legacies of Japanese American Designers after WWII Incarceration.” The multifaceted project incorporates the research, public discourse, exhibitions, and pedagogical initiatives that explore the legacies of the Japanese American designers, architects, and artists impacted by WWII internment.
The research launched with Beauty in Enormous Bleakness: The Interned Generation of Japanese American Designers, a collaboration between Murphy, cultural historian Heidi Aronson Kolk — also of WashU’s Sam Fox School — and architectural historian Lynnette Widder. The project seeks to document the lives and works of four Japanese American designers and WashU alumni — Richard Henmi, Gyo Obata, George Matsumoto, and Fred Toguchi — who survived internment, focusing on their vital contributions to the post-war cultural landscape while also acknowledging their lived experiences.
A subsequent exhibition, co-curated by Murphy and Kolk, placed personal artifacts, archival documents, and storytelling in conversation with architectural sites — evoking concepts of dislocation, erasure, and identity.
In April 2023, the project expanded to encompass a broader range of artists and designers with the symposium Moonscape of the Mind: Japanese American Design after Internment. The cross-disciplinary symposium, funded in part by a faculty research award from the Sam Fox School, brought together scholars from a range of humanities and creative fields to explore the legacies of the Japanese American WWII incarceration through an exploration of the connection between material objects and their creators’ lived experiences.
Concurrent to the symposium and exhibition, Murphy began teaching an ongoing series of case-study courses about the work and lives of post-war Japanese American designers.
The jury for this year’s Diversity Achievement Award included Maged Guerguis of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Sharon Haar of the University of Michigan; and Mohamed Ismail of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.