Danielle Schön reflects on SRAM inclusivity scholarship

This year we are super excited to be able to announce the first ever Bespoked SRAM inclusivity scholarship.

Builders who receive the scholarship will be awarded a full suite of components from SRAM as well as their stand fee, travel and accommodation expenses covered for the 2022 show. Inclusivity can be tricky to define in rigid terms so we’re keeping the brief as open as possible. If you don’t see people like you or work like yours fairly represented in the cycling industry then we’d love you to apply. We spoke to a number of previous awardees of the Philly Bike Expo SRAM inclusivity scholarship, about what it means to be awarded the scholarship and why it’s essential for us to make framebuilding more inclusive in any way that we can. It was great to hear from fabricator and framebuilder Danielle Schön whose words showed a degree of craft almost equal to her frames.

The maker’s journey is an arduous one – a long and winding road through peaks and valleys of the creative experience. Ups and downs, failures and successes, doubts and praise. There are many obstacles along the way

“The maker’s journey is an arduous one – a long and winding road through peaks and valleys of the creative experience. Ups and downs, failures and successes, doubts and praise. There are many obstacles along the way. Bricks in the road – creative woes, technical learnings, financial hardships, finding ways and venues in which to display your work, managing the business and functional logistics of being an artist. These are bricks we can all stumble upon as makers. Now imagine that those are not the only bricks in the road. Add another to deal with the patriarchy on top of it all. Add another for racialized individuals. Add another for those who have faced generations of oppression. Add another for trying to access spaces as a disabled person. Add another if you exist outside of typical gender constructs. Add another for being underrepresented or not even represented at all in the trades or industry. Add a few more for being spoken over, not taken seriously, or written off before even being given a chance just based on who you are as a person, for not looking or acting like who is deemed to be the norm.

These bricks can be hard to see if you don’t personally encounter them on your own journey. It can be easy to say – there are bricks on my journey too, why should I have to remove the ones that don’t affect me? But imagine your own journey, with two times, three times, five times more bricks in the way. Would you be able to make it through? Could you even get started down the road? It is our responsibility as members of a community, and in society as a whole, to help break down barriers of those who have struggles beyond our own.

While “listening and learning” is great, actions are what contribute to making a difference. Enter SRAM and the Inclusivity Scholarship. One of the biggest players in the industry has stepped up to offer support in a myriad of ways – financial, logistic, technical, media, and community support. By championing an initiative to bring marginalized builders to the forefront, providing a platform and media opportunities, Bespoked and SRAM are committing to removing barriers and advocating for better representation in the framebuilder community. Having the support of both SRAM and the Philadelphia Bike Expo gave me such encouragement and freedom to focus my energy on the craft I pursue. Having industry leaders create and broadcast purposeful space for myself and my scholarship-mates was a growth experience that I’ll always be grateful for. Connecting with people who share the same views and goals for the industry brought about a new sense of excitement, belonging, and community that helped break down the feeling of being an outsider.

I know it’s bleak having a white woman as an offering to a diversity scholarship. If anything, it shows truly how much work needs to be done for better representation in the framebuilder community. This is why I hope that in continuing this initiative, growing its support and reach year by year, it can start to effect change in waves through the Framebuilder community and bike industry. I look at it in a compounding way – with more BIPOC builders, more builders that are part of marginalized communities at large, the narrative can be shifted. More points of view can be broadcast through the community we all seek to advocate for. And in turn, those challenges of the status quo, the viewpoints, and the representation will create more of the same. I hope that soon we can see a truly diverse community representation at every level, from builders to teachers to media moguls to brand execs. The image is on the horizon, and we can get there – by removing as many bricks as we can along the way.”

As a show we aim to remove barriers for our exhibitors; to celebrate and elevate their work. The Bespoked SRAM inclusivity scholarship is a first step towards removing barriers for a few builders who otherwise might not be able to show their work. For us it’s the beginning of a journey that we’re really excited to be on, and we hope that you’ll come along for the ride. Be sure to check in as we’ll be announcing this year’s awardees here in the coming weeks.

The closing date for scholarship applications will be the 6th of June 2022 so be sure to apply before then!


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