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Join the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council: come change the design landscape

The lack of diversity within the design sector is not new news, but as an industry it’s time to come together and take more action to address it. That’s why the DBA is looking for volunteers to join its newly launched, Diversity & Inclusion Council; could this be a role for you?  

“We are looking for a diverse group of council members who can bring both passion and expertise,” says Diageo’s Global Design Director and DBA Chair, Jeremy Lindley.

The D&I Council is one of several new councils and initiatives the DBA is launching in 2022. The Council’s purpose is to share best practice, identify what we can do together to help the design sector be more inclusive, and inspire the industry to change.

The role of the council member

The DBA is seeking volunteers from across all areas of our member community. We will be bringing volunteers from both our agency and corporate members together to sit on the D&I Council to facilitate conversation, increase awareness and drive change.

As a council member you will play a vital role in helping the design industry foster an open sector, rich in diversity and representative of society. “Design by its nature is built on empathy,” says Lindley, “creating an inclusive and diverse industry is critical if we are to continue to lead.”

Lindley will chair the Council: “I expect us to learn from each other,” he says, “taking best practice back to our organisations. But most importantly, the D&I Council will make recommendations to the DBA Board; participants will be initiating change across the whole design industry.” 

Time to pull our collective socks up

DBA Annual Survey Report 2021: Gender split in creative roles within DBA member agencies

The male-female gulf at Creative Director level, although gradually closing, has been consistently revealed each year by the DBA Annual Survey Report (the survey has been tracking the gender split in creative roles since 2018). The 2021 DBA Report also highlights improvements which could be made in ethnic diversity, with only 8.6% of member agency staff being non-white compared to 13% of the UK population (with the latter figure much higher in urban areas where many agencies are located).

More widely, Creative Equals has also found that only 1-2% of staff are disabled (vs 22% of the UK population), only 3% of CEOs are Black, Asian, Multi-Ethnic, and only 6% of creatives are over 50. Addressing socio-economic factors, as well as LGBTQ+ inclusivity, are also fundamental to a diverse design sector. There is much work to be done to understand the barriers and to proactively drive positive change. “We will achieve more together than acting alone,” reflects Lindley.

Getting involved

The D&I Council is a pilot council and part of the DBA’s wider strategy to connect and support our vibrant design community. “Our vision for this council is to open the aperture, to include those who may have been inadvertently excluded from our industry, and to ensure that subconscious bias does not reduce the effectiveness of our design output,” says Lindley. With more councils in the pipeline, getting involved now with the pilot will help shape those that follow. “The councils will engage the DBA membership deeper and allow for the genius that exists across member companies to come together and make an impact,” Lindley observes.

DBA councils are about more than simply talking, with each council member needing to be willing to work on ideas in-between meetings. “We will meet online, initially for two hours, once a month,” says Lindley, “with a likely additional two hours of development work outside of meetings.”

The number of volunteers invited to join the D&I Council will be limited to a maximum of 20. “Our aim is to ensure a broad and diverse representation,” says Lindley, “if you can commit at least four hours a month to make our industry more inclusive, then we need you!”

If you are interested in joining the DBA Diversity & Inclusion Council to help drive awareness and change, email DBA CEO Deborah Dawton on by 8 December 2021 to register your interest and for more details on how to apply.   

Read more about the assembly of the DBA’s new Diversity and Inclusion Council in this Design Week article

Image credits: 

Agence Olloweb | Unsplash

Jeremy Lindley | Diageo

DBA Annual Survey Report 2021


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