The 19th International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Industry Roundtable tackled the topic of diversity and inclusion in the Interior Design industry. The organization's Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst moderated a lively, engaging, and useful discussion that culminated with the 29 designers and manufacturer representatives who participated in the event forming the Interior Design industry’s first-ever Diversity Council.
“Diversity is not only about race and gender, but also diversity of thought and discipline. It is in that spirit that IIDA bought together a group of interior designers, architects, and manufacturers to discuss a topic that is extremely personal and can be difficult to address in a way that is productive,” said Durst. “As industry professionals, we talk to clients about how to live beyond definition and expectation, and that is why this topic is so germane to who we are and what we do.”
The Roundtable featured speakers Gabrielle Bullock, director of global diversity at Perkins+Will, and Shauna Stallworth, principal at LUHF & LUMM LLC. They shared their experiences as African-American women in interior design who are creating opportunities for cultural awareness and inclusiveness both in their own firms and across the industry.
“I’m used to being the only one in the room,” said Bullock. “I want more people who look like me to have the opportunity to be in the room. I see myself as a change agent and an advocate of diversity.”
The newly formed IIDA Diversity Council, chaired by Stacy Walker, director of customer experience at Milliken, has been charged with creating a diversity policy statement for the profession of interior design and will tackle goals ranging from funding diversity research and promoting diversity resources to creating a curriculum that encourages students of diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in design.
An executive report, to be released in March 2016, will include a summary of the 19th IIDA Industry Roundtable, the IIDA Diversity Council’s diversity policy statement, and information regarding the Council’s planned strategic initiatives.