The RIBA this week launched the Role Models project as part of its ongoing commitment to promote diversity and inclusion and inspire a wide talent pool in the construction industry. The project is a new on-line publication which celebrates the diversity of British architects through the stories of 12 individuals who explain how they have been able to forge careers within architecture. Their stories send out a powerful message to others who may share one or more aspects of their identity, such as gender, background, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or education, that this a profession where they too might thrive.
Role models are important to leadership development and progression. The vision for the project came out of the work of the RIBA’s advisory group Architects for Change (AfC), chaired by Construction Industry Council (CIC) Project Manager, Danna Walker, and follows hot on the heels of the 2015 FLUID Diversity Mentoring Programme launch in April. Speaking at the event, Danna Walker said: “The first ambition for this project is not only to challenge the narrow view that some inside and outside the profession have about who can shape our built environment, but to demonstrate the power, talent and richness that diverse perspectives bring to the table….Architecture is far too important to the way that we live to only be practiced by the few…we wish to inspire new talent and ensure that in the future there are no barriers to opportunity and our sector continues to nurture excellence.”
The Role Models project aims to:
• Draw attention to the range of achievements, backgrounds and experiences of its members;
• Demonstrate that there are different ways of succeeding within the profession;
• Provide evidence and encouragement to a diverse talent population that they can pursue a successful career in architecture;
• Pass on personal and professional insights, lessons and advice;
• Inspire actual and potential members to pursue their ambitions and achieve their potential.
In an interview RIBA President Elect and Equality & Diversity Champion, Jane Duncan, said: “Diversity is crucial to the future success of our industry and RIBA is committed to providing the necessary leadership to drive out inequality from our construction industry. The Role Models project has given a voice to a diverse cast of inspiring individuals. These 12 features powerfully show that whatever your gender, background, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or education, you can succeed in architecture. I urge the whole industry - students, colleagues, mentors and employers - to read, share and learn from these frank and revealing profiles.”