The Power in Everyday Action

Posting a black square doesn’t equal change. 

There is inequality in our built environment, embedded in the homes we grow up in, the streets on which we play, the schools where we learned, and the city we live in. 

We, as the members and supporters of the Architecture Foundation, must address the inequality in the architectural profession. After we post these black squares, we must look inwards to the everyday actions of practices, publications, procurement processes, recruitment, competitions, press and education. It is important to review the whiteness of your workforce. If London’s working population is 56% ethnic minority, then should your workforce be 100% white? At every level, we must see representation of the communities that make up London, for this is what will create a better built environment for all. More voices, more perspectives.

It will not be up to black and brown architects to be the ones to speak up. It will be up to every one of us to understand the power of our everyday actions. We wanted to share some of the practical steps from the #YouCan campaign by Design Can, a platform which calls for an inclusive and representative design industry. To see the full campaign, please visit


Employ and commission people from a diverse range of backgrounds, genders and abilities. 


Actively share the work of unsung creatives, thinkers and brands on social media, in meetings and at dinner tables. 


Inspire and support young people to join the creative industries. Share your skills, knowledge and contacts.


Decline to be involved in projects and panels that are not representative. Let the organisers know why you do not want to participate and point them towards qualified people from underrepresented backgrounds.


If you are asked to work on a project where a person from an underrepresented background would be better suited, stand aside. 

Change will only come from continuous reassessment. The Architecture Foundation will be implementing the following steps within its own programme:

1. Commitment to representative commissioning and hiring of consultants
2. Ensuring that BAME practices are well represented in New Architects 4
3. Continuing to support emerging and underrepresented voices through New Architectural Writers and Young Trustees
4. Give platforms to emerging and BAME practitioners alongside more established architects within online and offline lectures
5. Ensure judging panels for competitions are representative
6. Updating and reporting Diversity and Inclusive Policy annually


READ: Anti-Racism Resources, Design Can | READ: How to be an Ally, Young Trustees | READ: Supporting Diversity Handbook | READ: Space/Race Reading List | WATCH: Sound Advice 02, Pooja Agrawal & Joseph Henry | WATCH: Decolonising Architecture, Black Females in Architecture | WATCH: Architecture for All

Organisations and individuals advocating for a more representative built environment:

New Architectural Writers is a free programme for emerging design writers, developing the journalistic skill, editorial connections and critical voice of its participants. N.A.W. focuses on black and minority ethnic emerging writers who are under-represented across design journalism and curation. @newarchwriters

Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was founded to tackle inequality in all forms, and works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13 to 30 to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice. @s_lawrencetrust

The Other Box is an award-winning diversity and inclusion company educating businesses on bias. @_theotherbox

FLUID Diversity Mentoring Programme is an award winning programme designed to address the retention and development of talented practitioners from diverse backgrounds for management and leadership roles in the built environment. @builtbyusuk

Design Can is a platform which calls for an inclusive and representative design industry. @_designcan__

Black Females in Architecture is a network and enterprise founded to increase the visibility of black and black mixed heritage females within architectural industry and other built environment fields. @blackfemarc

Power Out of Restriction (POoR) Collectiveis a social enterprise which aims to focus on the development of communities within the built environment. @poor_collective

Sound Advice is a platform exploring spatial inequality, mixing social commentary and music. @sound_x_advice

Muslim Women in Architecture (MWA) is a network and collective working to empower, inspire and celebrate Muslim women in the architecture and built environment industry. @mwa.arch

Afterparti is a fresh-thinking, architecture infused zine born out of the N.A.W collective in 2018. It unpacks big ideas on contemporary urban space through the lenses of identity and race. @afterpartizine

Matri-Archi is an intersectional collective that empowers African women as a network dedicated to African city development and spatial education. @matri_archi

XXAOC is a campaign and crowdsourced, online database to fill in the gaps in architectural history which is manifestly missing female architects of colour. @xx_aoc

Her Perspective is an incomplete archive of womxn who have made a positive impact on the built environment, with a focus on the Global South. @_herperspective

Part W is an action group of women working across architecture and design, infrastructure and construction and campaigning for gender parity across the built environment. @partwcollective

Think-Tanger is a cultural platform dedicated to the exploration of urban challenges arising in the city-region of Tangier in Morocco. @thinktanger

Limbo Accra is a spatial design studio, experimenting with architecture, concrete & design in West African cities. @limboaccra

The Architects Project is an autonomous initiative for thinkers, doers and users of the built environment. @thearchitectsproject

Where are the Black Designers is an initiative which aims to give a platform to creatives of color. @wherearetheblackdesigners

Two Hundred Black Creators is a project by Sean Canty initially featured as a form of counter-programming on social media. This list consists of Black Architects, Landscape Architects, Interior Designers, Historians, Urban Planners, Artists, Furniture, Industrial, and Product Designers, Design Advocates, and Creative Entrepreneurs. It is entirely, imperfect and not yet exhausted. @sean_canty_ @studioseancanty