SONA & EmAGN Lean In | How to practice inclusivity

At this session we heard from Catherine Fox – a leading commentator on women and the workforce, an award-winning journalist, author and presenter; Cathleen Fetokai – an emerging Pasifika researcher and the Pasifika Outreach and Retention Officer at Queensland University of Technology; and Daniel Santengelli – the Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Footscray Community Arts Centre, committed to community-engaged practice with diverse communities.

Catherine gave us some clear tactics for when we are faced with misogyny and sexism in the workplace. You can try answering with a question when someone makes a sexist comment using the phrase: “Why do you say that?” or “Where did you get your information about that from?” If you don’t have power but you’re experiencing a problem of sexism in the work place, band together to support each other and have each other’s backs.

Cathleen gave us a clear definition of diversity and inclusion: “diversity invites people to the table, inclusion empowers those people to use their voice”. Cathleen talked about how space can influence people’s experience of institutions and the importance of understanding building users and their needs because not everyone starts from the same position. She recommended finding representatives and champions if you have been marginalised. If you are not marginalised in a particular space, use this opportunity to become an ally and support others!

Daniel talked about his work at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. They have 10 Key Questions they use as prompts to ensure their practice is community engaged. The first question was: “What is the role of First Nations people in this project?” It was critical that each project started from the answer to this question. The second question was: “Who’s not here that should be here?” This question was about ensuring that the team, and their lived experiences, were appropriate for the job and could carry out the relationships required for the project – such an important question for architects at the beginning of a project!