19 Jun Black Lives Matter
The recent events in the US, and elsewhere, following the death of George Floyd have been both frightening and hopeful. As a group of people we have all been moved, and although it’s not easy to know what to usefully say, we do believe that our silence as an architecture practice of majority white people is not an option. We would like to use our platform to state our support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and commit to our continued support through our work in practice.
Currently in our practice, we work hard to address the climate emergency and the many social injustices of poverty, poor housing and lack of access to facilities. We know that the climate emergency disproportionately affects those already most vulnerable so we mainly work with councils, housing associations and community groups to raise the standards of social housing and community facilities.
However there is more that we can do, especially with regard to racial inequalities. We’ve said before in relation to the Architects Declare that we are more motivated to do something than to say something, so we have undertaken to start with a small number of practical measures.
Internally, we will look squarely at the imbalances in our own office and look to chart a journey towards a more equal and diverse team. We already have a group dedicated to equality and diversity, but we will redouble our existing efforts to investigate, challenge, and dismantle the many forms of inequalities experienced (within the profession and as a result of design) by Black and other ethnic minorities, women, people within the LGBTQI community, those from areas of greater deprivation, carers, children, the elderly and infirm, those with dementia and the many other visible and invisible forms of inequalities for which people need greater support. We will review the way in which we approach design so that we foster a culture of participation and representation during the design process. Hopefully then we will create places and spaces that reflect and respond to the diversity of experiences found in these groups so often overlooked.
Be the change you want to see in the world they say. So we will try. But above all, we hope that the many encouraging signs we’ve seen will lead to a long lasting, systemically improved world for Black and minority ethnic people and all those unfairly treated, and we will do our bit to bring this about in our own lives and work.
Photo copyright Donald Wilson