Do we need a new way of talking about diversity?

The need for diversity has been adopted wholesale by the ad and design industries. But do we really know what we’re striving for when we talk about increasing opportunity and equality in the workplace?

In the last decade or so, the word diversity has infiltrated the creative industries. While diversity as a concept has significantly increased in popularity, the word’s lack of specificity means that it can be wielded in any which way.

Do we still know what we’re looking for when we talk about diversity? And does this term still serve the creative industries or do we need more clearly defined approaches?

To investigate this question, I sought out help from people who have a range of experiences within the design and ad worlds: Reeta Loi, founder and CEO of Tiger Iron, an agency employing people from diverse backgrounds to work with purpose driven organisations; Elizabeth Guffey, an editor and educator whose work focuses on the intersection of design, visual culture and disability studies; and Julian Thompson, founder of Rooted by Design, a change and futures studio which centres the realities of Black communities.

Here they share their views on how we might define diversity in more thoughtful and nuanced ways, which will create better workplace experiences for all, and also improve the quality of the work we produce.