A spontaneous invitation by fellow built environment specialist, Ms Isabel Appio resulted in the timely attendance by DCS Founder, Bola Abisogun FRICS. Arriving with an open mind proved hugely beneficial as the event spectacularly delivered and built upon, the often marginalised conversation centred around ethnic diversity across the professions. Refreshingly, on this occasion, the objective focussed squarely on the emerging talent pool, equipped to add to the 'creative' designer community of the future.
The opening 'keynote' by Neil Pinder, an exemplary school teacher who delivers design based curricula at Graveney School in South London, was full of humour and extended gratuity towards the voluminous support he had been afforded by many present in the room. In fact, there were so many 'in the Senior Common Room' at the Royal College of Art [RCA] in Kensington, Central London...........'cosy' seating for all simply wasn't possible...........but hey, it was worth it!!
Neil [centred below] also thanked and fervently embraced his alumni, which was a particularly touching affair. It was clear for all to observe, the pride that had clearly overwhelmed him as he commanded his 'team of students' to graciously take 'centre stage' and revel in what proved to be a truly humbling moment, along their individual journey, enroute their eventual career success(es) both within and [quite possibly] beyond the architectural design community.
The panel discussion that followed the 'premiere' of the short film 'Architecture For All' [please click here], was assembled and moderated by Joseph Henry, himself a member of the GLA design team who remains focussed on ensuring that London's overall design remains culturally, fit for purpose, including the demands of the public realm. It is fair to say, that both aspects should appropriately reflect and remain heavily influenced by 'diversity of thought'. Joseph's proud parents were present to participate in the wider conversation and had nothing but praise for the delivery of his meaningful and thought provoking discussion which also included an array of contributions from the attendees, some of whom posed 'challenging questions' to the panel.
In summary, the informed discussion yielded some amazing conversation with the panel members [stated below] who also disclosed poignant moments of personal experience that had ultimately led to, or at the very least, significantly influenced their 'holistic' development as a seasoned, design professional.
The CA panel included:
Adrian Lahoud, Dean of School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London
Pooja Agrawal, Urban Designer, GLA and and Co-Founder of Public Practice
Akil Scafe-Smith, Co-Founder, RESOLVE
Rosa-Johan Uddoh, bespoke Artist with architectural background
As always, being the observer of the common denominators in tandem with and aligned to the surveying profession, one key question remains; "what will it take for the next generation of talent to 'stick with the programme' remain focussed, resilient and in turn develop both themselves and their individual careers?" In my opinion, it is the retention of talent within and across the built environment profession(s), although often overlooked, that will prove to be the 'de facto' barometer of success. With BREXIT pending, in less than a year, the notorious 'UK leaky pipe' syndrome must be addressed. That said, I am hugely optimistic as to what this eclectic mix of design talent will go on to achieve, across the globe.............
So, Sir David Adjaye, please take a deep breath and embrace the #nextgen - they are coming with their own unique swagger and are brimming with confidence too!
Celebrating Architecture is a programme supported by The Architecture Foundation, Royal College of Art and the Mayor of London. The initiative is co-lead by Venetia Wolfenden of the education and architecture consultancy Urban Learners together with design and technology school teacher, Neil Pinder. The partnership will deliver a series of architectural design workshops with London schools intended to demonstrate the potential of creative learning in the classroom and the opportunities of a career in design. To read up on the programme please click here