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Help make architecture a more diverse profession

Emily Booth
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Our race diversity survey, in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, will gather crucial evidence to increase accessibility to the profession, writes Emily Booth

This week, in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (SLCT), we launch our race diversity in architecture survey. This year marks 20 years since the foundation of the trust – and the 25th anniversary of the murder of Stephen.

Those from minority backgrounds are still less likely to succeed in their aspirations to become architects. So it is fitting to use data to better understand what can be done to ensure our built environment is conceived, designed and constructed by those who will reside within it. 

The survey will be important in gathering evidence on race diversity in the profession. We have worked closely with the SLCT on the questions, and the survey is open to everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. We’ll ask you about your experiences in the industry – and your responses to various statements. Your answers will be anonymous.

We passionately believe the built environment that surrounds us in our communities should reflect the rich cultural diversity of the people living in that community

We are delighted that Doreen Lawrence, alongside Marco Goldschmied, is launching the survey – and her words resonate with power and grace: ‘It has been 20 years since I set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. My son was on the path to becoming an architect. We passionately believe that architecture as a profession, and the built environment that surrounds us in our communities, should reflect the rich cultural diversity of the people living in that community.

‘But, for many young people, becoming an architect seems like an impossible dream. Not because they lack ability or aspiration, but because they may not have access to the same opportunities as some.’

The SLCT has a strong track record in working with young people to broaden their view of what’s possible: its bursary programme has supported more than 125 students with financial assistance to support their studies; its Building Futures Programme is leading the way in championing diversity and supporting young aspiring architects from disadvantaged backgrounds. To date, SLCT has supported 250 young people by providing them with work experience, real job opportunities and mentoring through the programme. With the trust’s support, some have gone on to establish their own successful practices and some have started careers with leading practices.

Now you can make a difference by taking part in the survey. Being an architect should not be an impossible dream. We need to work together to make it an accessible profession, and this survey is a step towards that. We will be reporting on the findings in the AJ and it will help inform industry action points throughout 2018. Thank you for your support.

Stephenlawrence

Stephenlawrence

Source: Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

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