Elevating equity in design

Elevating equity in design

Design your world

The world we design for has many different facets. Yet the lens we design through is myopic when it comes to diversity within the profession. A new program geared toward high school students seeks to widen that lens and explore the possibilities that could exist in the future of the commercial design industry, and the world.

As part of a long-term commitment to expose a diverse community of students and emerging professionals to design through learning and engagement, IIDA in partnership with the non-profit After School Matters® (ASM) have launched a new 6-week, after school program for high school students known as “Design Your World.”

In alliance with ASM, presenting sponsor OFS, and supporting sponsors 3form, Mannington Commercial, and Configura, IIDA is producing a design program and framework for future replication and expansion in other cities that will grant educational design opportunities, while tackling diversity in design at the source.

We want to show these kids that they have the power over their condition, communities, and stereotypes.
- Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, Executive Vice President and CEO, IIDA

The Design Your World program offers a well-rounded curriculum that covers topics such as material selection, color theory, creating space plans, as well as working with various types of design firms and sectors.

According to IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, “The goal of the program is to demonstrate that design is accessible to all, both as a career and as a necessary component of life.”

ASM has a long-standing record of success in the Chicago area, having served nearly 19,000 high school teens annually and over 350,000 since the program’s inception, with a focus on underserved communities. The partnership represents a paradigm shift in the predominantly homogenist design industry, focusing on students in the early stages of career exploration, with an aim to bring the possibilities and inspiration of a career in design within reach. ASM is pleased to welcome the Design Your World program to its repertoire and believes it is vital for teens to understand the impact an environment can have on how we interact, work, and thrive.

Watch the program unfold at IIDA.org and OFS.com or by following them on Instagram at @IIDA_HQ and @OFS.

The profession of commercial interior design is designing for everybody, but the industry doesn’t look like everybody.
- Ryan Ben, Director of Association Experience, IIDA

Hear from Cheryl Durst and Ciera Payton on the Imagine a Place podcast: