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Changing the face of architecture: Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust students tell their story

A note from our CEO, Alan Vallance. 

Monday 22 April 2019 marks 26 years since Stephen Lawrence was cruelly taken from this world in a racially aggravated attack. Stephen was an aspiring architect, but he was never able to fulfil his dreams of becoming one.

Although his life was short, Stephen has become a positive role model of a life well lived, and so much has since been achieved in his name through the vital work of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which we are so proud to support. 

Last week we went to the Stephen Lawrence Centre in South East London to meet two of the Trust’s alumni and the Chair of our equality, diversity and inclusion expert panel (Architects for Change) Femi Oresanya about the impact the Trust has on young, aspiring architects. 

For many young people, becoming an architect seems like an impossible dream, not because they lack the ability or aspiration, but because they may not have access to the same opportunities as others. Some face discrimination because of aspects of their identity beyond their control.

Both the RIBA and the Stephen Lawrence Trust share the belief that the world around us should be designed by the people that live in it. At RIBA we are committed to broadening access to architecture and supporting the Trust’s aim to create a fairer society in which everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish.

People like Shawn Adams, in his first year of studying Part 2 at the Royal College of Art and Selam Amare, a Part 1 graduate. They're on the Trust’s Building Futures Programme. And it’s making a real difference, as they explain in our film. Selam says “I feel like by being part of the Stephen Lawrence Trust, I’m definitely changing the face of architecture.” 

On Monday 22 April we will celebrate the first Stephen Lawrence Memorial Day. We will remember the life of this inspiring young man, and we will look to the future, at what can be done to drive social change, create the kind of society we want to live in, and what can be done to give others the opportunities that Stephen was denied.  

By working together, we can make a difference. 

Find out more about the relationship between the RIBA and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, and share our video online. 

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