In this section you will find:

  • Values and behaviours in our Design Council community 

  • Useful resources and organisations promoting equality and justice in design

  • Our experts specialising in inclusive design

Design shapes the world. To be inclusive, design has to reflect the rich make-up of society and to allow people from different backgrounds and worldviews to thrive. People of different ages, genders, social, ethnic or cultural backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientation, faith or life experience. At the moment it does not.  

At Design Council, promoting equality and diversity is core to our mission to  make life better for all. We start with ourselves and our Design Council community, using our platform to encourage the wider design profession to follow suit. 

Values and behaviours in our Design Council community 

  • Inclusion is central to our work at Design Council. It is embedded into our culture, and we create safe spaces for us as colleagues to reflect on our own advantages and unconscious bias, and to allow time to diversify our networks and build trusted relationships with people with different perspectives. We have equality, diversity and inclusion on the agenda at all partnership mobilisation meetings. 

  • We have an open, transparent and actively welcoming recruitment process. All employment opportunities, including those for trustees, colleagues, and Design Council experts are advertised in an open recruitment process and we promote flexible working arrangements to encourage further diversity. We carry out equal opportunities monitoring in all processes and work hard to ensure our inclusive approach encourages all sections of society to apply to work with us, including offering flexibility in terms of working arrangements. 

  • We are an equal opportunity employer committed to a policy of treating all our team members and job applicants equally. We take all reasonable steps to employ and promote team members on the basis of their abilities and qualifications irrespective of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation (protected characteristics). We appoint, train, develop and promote on the basis of merit and ability to carry out the requirements of the job. We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of any of the above protected characteristics. Such behaviour may be considered as gross misconduct and may result in summary dismissal. 

  • We have an aspiration for our core team to reflect the national census figures on gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, disability and social class. 

  • We have recently refreshed our Design Council expert network with representation across geographies, ethnicity, gender and disability.  

Our programmes and platform: 

  • Inclusive design is a core practice and principle that runs through our programmes. We understand this  as products, services and places being accessible and welcoming to all, and  designed  in way to improve equity more broadly. 

  • The design frameworks and principles we use to guide our work (e.g. framework for innovation, systemic design framework, inclusive environment principles) all have inclusive design methods and tools.

  • We commit to ensuring representation in all our panels and programmes. We do not speak on un-diverse panels and actively support organisers to identify different perspectives. 

  • We ensure that we understand the experiences of different groups, identify assumptions and biases through our work, and bring in different perspectives so that we are designing inclusively. 

  • We forge relationships with organisations that represent under-represented groups, seeking to understand their experiences and what design can do to tackle systemic inequalities. 

Black Creatives

We believe that design needs to reflect the diversity of the world it shapes. Our national, published research shows that many people working in the design economy do not sufficiently represent the people they are designing for.

Read more

Useful resources and organisations promoting equality and justice in design

(We will regularly update this, so please let us know of anything we have missed) 

Organisations and networks 

  • Design Can – campaign to increase diversity in design 
  • Design Justice Network – international community of people and organisations who are committed to rethinking design processes so that they centre people who are too often marginalised by design 
  • Black Female Architects – network and enterprise founded to increase the visibility of black and black mixed heritage females within architectural industry and other built environment fields 
  • Urbanistas - global network & local chapters amplifying the voices of women to make cities better for everyone 
  • United in Design – mentoring for designers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds looking to enter into interior design  
  • Rainbow Places – cross-industry LGBT+ allies networking group for the built & natural environment 
  • Blueprint for All (formerly Stephen Lawrence Trust) – work with disadvantaged young people and communities, providing tangible opportunities and support that enables them to thrive 
  • Design Justice Network – international community of people and organisations who are committed to rethinking design processes so that they centre people who are too often marginalised by design 
  • Punt 6 – rethinking spaces from everyday lives experiences and for a feminist transformation 
  • Black Land & Spatial Justice – fund to redistribute resources, including finance and knowledge, engaging in decolonial frameworks and collective organising to redefine our relationships to land and space 
  • Rooted by Design – design studio with a focus on reimagining abundant and inclusive futures in which Black communities flourish 
  • Decolonising Space/Making – collective research group and think tank created to respond to concerns around social, environmental and spatial injustices in the built environment 

Resources 

  • Design Can – (again) huge resources around diversity and equality in design 
  • Open –  a podcast showcasing inclusive design from different design practices, from Open Inclusion 
  • Designing Women: resources, further networks and profiles of women pushing to equalise gender imbalance within the industry 
  • Centric Lab: has a great set of research resources into the urban environment, equity & health 

Books 

  • Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities, Tim Gill 

Support for organisational diversity 

  • Fearless Futures: serves daring organisations – - across sectors – - ready to actively challenge inequities by addressing their roots, intersections, and lived realities 
  • Utopia: culture change business promoting greater diversity, using design-led hacks 

Our experts specialising in inclusive design 

(All Design Council experts have been recruited on the basis that they work inclusively, but the following are particular specialists): 

  • Dr Hannah Barham-Brown – Disability and gender equity advocate and the first visibly disabled deputy leader of a UK political party, the Women’s Equality Party. 
  • Bridget Snaith –  Bridget has been a partner at Shape Landscape Architecture since 2005. Shape ’s project work is focussed on spaces for people, developing designs for play, sociability, health, inclusion and active travel, with community, public and third sector organisations. 
  • Dr Teri Okoro –  founder of London based TOCA is unique – practicing Architect, Access Consultant and chartered project professional with Bartlett qualifications in Urban Development Planning and a passion for sustainability and inclusion.  
  • Tim Gill from Rethinking Childhood – an independent scholar, advocate and consultant on childhood. 
  • Darryl Smith – an inclusion champion. With over 30 years’ experience as an access and inclusion manager he is an advocate of partnership working that delivers inclusive outcomes. 
  • Sanaa Shaikh from Native Studio LTD Associates – an architect, educator and activist with a passion for inclusion in the built environment. 
  • Dr Deb Upadhyaya –   advocate of sustainable urbanism, delivery of quality places and value creation through collaboration/ design led innovation. Deb champions inclusion and diversity as the fundamental building blocks of delivering resilient built environments. 
  • David Drobkin – co-author of the Metric Handbook chapter on access and inclusion, David also contributed to the ODA’s and LLDC’s Inclusive Design Standards. 
  • Philippa Jackson – Pip joined University College London in April 2019 as their inaugural Access and Inclusion Manager. 
  • Fara Muneer –  Head of the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), a leading authority on inclusive design and management of the built environment. 
  • Jane Simpson – chartered architect and registered access consultant on the National Register of Access Consultants. 
  • Natasha Trotman –  equality designer and researcher whose work focuses on mental difference as a way to foster new conversations and approaches to the world around us. 
  • Jacqueline Bleicher – founder of Global Urban Design C.I.C., a community focussed urban design and placemaking consultancy social enterprise. 
  • Dr. Makayla Lewis – Makayla has a PhD in human-computer interaction from City University London. Her key interests are human-computer interaction, user experience, accessibility, co-design, human factors in cyber security, artificial intelligence and blockchain, and sketching in HCI and UX. 
  • Deborah Szebecko – founded thinkpublic in 2004 after volunteering at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, where she spotted the opportunity to use design to improve the patient experience and healthcare services.   
  • Umesh Pandya –  designer driven by using design and technology to solve problems that matter. In 2015 while working at ustwo, he co-founded Wayfindr, a multi-award-winning, social tech, not-for-profit that empowers vision-impaired people to navigate the world independently. 
  • Megha Wadhawa – a service design consultant, who has worked with a number of private, public and third party sector organisations. Megha’s work looks to support changes for an inclusive society, with a sustainable way of living for a more equitable future.