Landscape Institute President Jane Findlay takes a closer look at the themes we will explore in our online Jellicoe lecture on Tuesday 13 October 2020
As well as acknowledging the wealth of benefits that diversity brings to organisations, we must aspire to be as diverse as the communities we serve. We need to provide the next generation with visible, diverse role models, and we need to broaden our thinking so that our projects have the best outcomes for everybody.
Keynote speaker Priya Shah and a Question Time-style panel of speakers will get to the heart of the issues we need to tackle and resolve to foster a truly inclusive profession. Structural discrimination and unconscious bias still profoundly affect life chances and career choices for countless people. If we are to welcome and progress all practitioners, regardless of race, sex, sexuality, disability, or social background, we must challenge this.
The Black Lives Matter movement has catalysed anti-racism across the world. It has demanded that we acknowledge and address some uncomfortable truths: that the history of placemaking is mired in colonialism, and the landscape and placemaking sector is one of the least ethnically diverse in the country.
How do we welcome more students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, and champion and support them throughout their careers? How do we tackle institutional racism within landscape practices, education, our wider sector and our institutions? And how do we ensure that our places, new and old, respect the culture and needs of all who use them?
Talent and hard work should be a guaranteed path to success. But the data shows that this is just isn’t true.
People from middle class backgrounds are still 80% more likely to make it into professional jobs than those from working-class backgrounds. This fails individuals, wastes potential, and undermines society.
How easy is it for talented young people from low-income families to enter and progress in landscape? How can we, as experts in designing thriving communal environments, turn our lens inward and open up our profession to new talent?
The gender gap
More women than men enter university to study landscape architecture. At entry level, the profession is balanced. But this gender balance evaporates at senior levels.
How can we better champion and support women throughout their careers? How do we identify and address bias and sexism that hinders the advancement of our female members? And how do we ensure the visibility of female role models, so that women entering or considering our profession know there are leadership roles for them?
LGBTQ+ visibility and pride
LGBTQ+ equality in the UK has made huge leaps these past two decades. But we haven’t yet achieved true openness and equality. Even a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community can find themselves self-censoring at work due to fear of judgement or discrimination.
Although landscape is reportedly an accepting industry for LGBTQ+ people, this isn’t always the case in our associated industries. Why is this, and how can we use our position to evince positive change?
Public space design is an integral part of landscape practice, and inclusivity is a huge part of this. Public spaces should be accessible, promoting mobility and independence for everybody who uses them.
Despite this, we have a poor understanding of how our profession engages with people with disabilities. We also have few people with disabilities in our profession. Without this engagement and involvement, how can we ensure that the places we design, create and manage are truly accessible?
Jellicoe 2020: The speakers
Join us on 13 October to discuss this and more with our world-class panel of speakers:
- Priya Shah, Communications Consultant and founder of BAME in Property
- Diana Chrouch, Consultant at Diversity Means Business, FSB Chair of National Policy for BAME Business Owners, and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the Worshipful Company of Constructors
- Sarah Atkinson, Chief Executive at the Social Mobility Foundation
- Jane Fortescue, Senior Landscape Architect at FPCR
- Kush Kanodia MBA, Director of Strategy at the Kaleidoscope Group
- Martin Pong, Product Manager at 10x Banking and Stonewall Young Leader
- Donald Roberts, Director at ETLA
- Romy Rawlings, UK Business Development Manager at Vestre
- Jane Findlay, Landscape Institute President
- Dan Cook, Landscape Institute Chief Executive