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Delivering inclusive change - RIBA Inclusion and Diversity 2021 action plan

Hear from Marsha Ramroop, RIBA Director of Inclusion and Diversity on how the RIBA is tackling underrepresentation in the architecture sector and committing to creating a more inclusive organisation.

03 June 2021

Introduction

Becoming more diverse and inclusive is a tremendous opportunity for the architecture profession.

Currently, across all levels of the profession and in most practices, all groups remain significantly underrepresented apart from those who are white, male, able-bodied, heterosexual, and London/south east based.

The RIBA is tackling this underrepresentation and has committed to creating a more inclusive organisation itself. We take our responsibility to role model and drive change seriously, not only in our membership but across the whole industry.

Over the last 18 months, issues of inclusion and equity have been brought to the fore through the Black Lives Matter movement. These issues are being debated increasingly in the profession with growing frustration at the slow pace of change towards a more inclusive and diverse architecture sector.

We have to lead inclusion and manage diversity in order to create equitable workplaces and solutions. Our initial targeted actions for 2021 and beyond are set out below.

RIBA’s approach to inclusion and diversity

In 2020, the RIBA put in place the foundations for a three year programme of work split across four themes: Data, Governance, Leadership and Systems. A summary of RIBA’s inclusion journey so far, and direction of travel were set out in our first RIBA Inclusion Transparency Report.

Inclusion and Diversity 2021 action plan

Our current activities build on these strong foundations.

One key addition for 2021 onwards is the underpinning of all our work with the Cultural Intelligence (CQ) framework of inclusive behaviours.

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is an academically robust peer reviewed measurement and skill. It is the capability to work and relate effectively with people who are different from you.

Vision:

To create a culturally intelligent RIBA and architectural sector which supports inclusion in all its forms.

Mission:
  • to use Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as a basis so all RIBA colleagues understand and behave inclusively
  • to create policies and structures which support inclusive working behaviours and practice
  • to support with data the inclusion message and track the journey
  • to improve the attraction, pipeline and progression of underrepresented groups in the RIBA and profession
  • to provide training, guidance, and support to all architectural services on inclusion matters
  • to assist, support, and guide the RIBA and the architecture sector to offer its services to all
How do we bring about inclusive organisational change?

To deliver inclusive change, people are more likely to change their mindset and create inclusive behaviours, using CQ, if they see role modelling from leaders and colleagues; staff can foster understanding of what's being asked of them and why; they see and use structures, processes, and mechanisms that support the inclusive change they're being asked to make; they have the skills and opportunities to behave in a new way.

2021 projects

  • embedding Cultural Intelligence (CQ) - all RIBA colleagues will receive CQ training and coaching to embed inclusive behaviours throughout the organisation and its networks with the RIBA Board and Council to follow
  • architecture communities – six lived experience groups will be established to help with CQ and fostering understanding when informing policy, use of language and holding to account
  • Inclusion Charter competencies – we will provide a super structure of CQ training, policies, guides, workshops, webinars/seminars, and a solid repository of diversity data to inform the change needs, for members, practices, and the wider profession

Initially, our work will focus on inclusion within the RIBA itself, so that we can effectively role model and support the membership, profession and wider construction sector.

Marsha Ramroop, RIBA Director of Inclusion and Diversity. Contact: marsha.ramroop@riba.org.

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