At the 2019 AIA UK Annual General Meeting in January, we announced a board initiative to focus our lens this year on equity, diversity and inclusion. We intend to address this in three ways: first, to turn a critical eye to the balance of our annual programming to ensure it reflects the richness of human experience in the profession; second, to expand opportunities for member participation and create flexible avenues for continuing education credits; and third, to celebrate the exceptional achievements of our membership.
Our chapter’s efforts are supported by a forward-looking series of initiatives by AIA National. In 2017, The Commission on Equity in Architecture released five areas of focus and eleven priority recommendations to be implemented by the AIA in subsequent years. The Equity and Future of Architecture Committee (EQFA), in 2018, released an introduction and three of the total nine intended guidance documents for individuals, firms and the profession highlighting challenges and steps forward to bolster equitable practice. The papers present a balance of analysis and reportage on existing and newly conducted research and quotes reflecting the experience of individuals in daily practice. Moreover, they frame actions and topics for consideration at all three levels and are an invaluable resource for both our board and members looking to foster conversation about this critical topic. These can be downloaded from the AIA National website.
Since the formation of our chapter in 1992, its board of directors and elected leaders have included members with varied backgrounds. We have, for example, celebrated the contributions of our past women presidents in a series of articles. With your support, this year’s board happily features more than 50% female representation, LGBTQ and ethnic minorities, academics, emerging professionals, mid-career professionals and those that have recently retired but continue to contribute to the discipline in non-traditional capacities, as well as recent graduates and parents with children of all ages.
The board has already sought ways to embrace its EDI focus in the first months of 2019. This year’s Excellence in Design Awards jury featured an equitable split of female, LGBTQ and ethnic minority representation, and a range of professional expertise, from academics, researchers and practicing professionals at different career stages. For Women’s History Month, in March we conducted an Instagram campaign featuring our female directors and exemplary chapter members. As we look forward to the many exciting events we have planned for 2019, we will be rigorous in our review of panelists and speakers to bolster the representation of diverse perspectives and experiences.
We are committed to creating a varied annual programme that increases opportunities for our membership to participate. We recognise our members have busy lives, at work and at home. This year, you will be able to meet fellow members, see exciting case studies, and earn continuing education credits in many ways. If you’re in London, or passing through, join us for one of the many evening lectures, film nights, building tours and emerging professional events on our calendar.
Or keep an eye out for cross-branded events that allow you to earn credits from many of the other architectural lectures and tours in town. And if you’re further afield, or like to travel, join us for the Cambridge Super Saturday or our Newcastle City Excursion for a focused blast of 6-12 credits. We’re also looking to trial recorded sessions that allow you to view events you’ve missed missed and even earn credits from your desk in those last desperate weeks before the end of the year. In the years to come, we aim to engage the leadership of the International Region to use technology to facilitate learning across regions.
As a board, we support celebrating our members’ accomplishments. In addition to several social media drives to highlight member successes, this year we are improving our website to be able to feature members’ projects on the banner; details on how to participate will be released soon. We’re always looking to highlight members and their work on our blog and social media, so if you’re excited about something you’ve worked on lately, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or directly on our media platforms.
On behalf of the AIA UK Board of Directors,
AIA United Kingdom