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Doreen Lawrence hits out at elitism

The mother of Stephen Lawrence has hit out at architects who ‘talk but don’t act’ in the battle to challenge elitism in the profession

In an interview with the AJ, Doreen Lawrence, whose son was an aspiring architect before he was murdered in April 1993, said equal opportunities employment was outside the ‘psyche’ of some practices.

For a second year, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and RMJM’s Architecture for Everyone programme has been opening up the profession for young people from Britain’s inner cities.

Lawrence said: ‘One year, we had Richard Rogers as a memorial lecture guest speaker. He talked about how we need to open up our profession, but I think sometimes people just don’t need to talk, they need to actually take action.

‘I have no idea what the make-up of his practice is or how mixed it is, but I think it’s people like that who need to open up their companies and give more work experience and placements to young students,’ she added.

Richard Rogers, in response, said: ‘I think [elitism] is a massive problem in society, which is why we set up as a charity.’

He says his practice takes a ‘broader’ view of social responsibility, focusing on maternity and paternity leave, as well as equal opportunities.

A spokesperson for Architecture for Everyone backer RMJM said: ‘Without diversity in the profession, our built environment could become quite a boring place.’

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