International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2017 saw the launch of “Diversity Works…” project: 101 portrait and perspectives of workplace diversity in the UK – featuring our CEO Morgan Lobb.
2016 was a year of great change across political, cultural, economic and societal aspects. It bought equality, diversity, and inclusion more to the fore. In the words of Bob Dylan, the Nobel Prize winner in Literature 2016, “The times they are a changin’”.
New economic forces are being unleashed from previously marginalised communities – the largest, of course, being women. Even here in the west, women are still fighting for rights and for equality with men. With increased opportunity, women are achieving great academic and professional success and are progressing based on merit making even greater contributions to our nations. Equally, other minority groups and immigrant communities are making significant strides forward – strengthening their nation and in many cases their new home nation.
‘Diversity works…’ is a collection of 101 portraits and perspectives of, primarily, workplace diversity from prominent business and thought leaders from a broad range of sectors. The project has been conceived and developed by the artist Shahid Bashir and curated by Dowshan Humzah. Some of the featured contributors work directly in the ‘diversity and inclusion’ field; however, many are leaders who actively choose to embrace diversity and inclusion within their core roles.
The project asks: ‘how is diversity perceived and experienced?’ It also challenges misconceptions that many still have in relation to diversity and expounds on the need to create workplace cultures and behaviours that are inclusive and embrace difference in the broadest sense.
The collection of photographic portraits has been taken in a particular style – moving away from the usual ‘happy, smiley corporate images’ using a contemporary black and white, deadpan style. The intention is to reflect the notion that diversity is not merely black and white, it is more about the grey areas in between.
The photography is accompanied by a powerful narrative prompted via a consistent format as each contributor has completed three statements: ‘Diversity Is…’; ‘Diversity Isn’t…’; and ‘Diversity Works…’.
The statements provide thought-provoking insight through a series of perspectives, which set out the value of diversity, what it isn’t and under what conditions it can truly flourish. Further, the statements reflect the nature and spirit of diversity – quite different yet linked and strengthened by difference.
Shahid Bashir, Artist and Project Originator says: “I think it’s critical to be innovative and creative in a corporate context, to increase engagement, dialogue and understanding of how equality, diversity and inclusion are the cornerstone to establishing integrity in business. My overarching goal is to move this agenda out of the backroom into the board room and to place it at the heart of the corporate planning process”.
Dowshan Humzah, Collaborator and Curator says: “Uncertainty and ‘distrust’ must not derail our focus from valuing difference, driving inclusion and bringing people together. We must build a narrative for inclusion via conversations that are authentic, uplifting, and emotionally resonant – embracing diversity of or the difference of POETS. ‘Diversity works…’ with its strong imagery and contributors’ statements does just that!”
In addition to the online digital gallery, later in 2017 there will be a series of physical exhibitions, engaging various stakeholders and communities regarding their views on diversity as well as printed material.
View our CEO Morgan Lobb’s image here.
View the whole gallery here.