Diversity is a hot topic at the moment. With this week’s Pride in London kicking off, we feel proud of the open, diverse and vibrant nature of London. But with ever rising rents how do we keep our city this way, and more importantly, why should we?
Alex Goat is managing director of Livity and co-founder of The Great British Diversity Experiment – an initiative which aims to change the face of the creative industries with significant, tangible outputs that would lead towards diversity. She says, ‘London’s diverse heritage is what makes it unique. London is at it’s best when you have many different types of people coming together through crisis or positivity. We’re at a difficult time where it’s becoming too expensive for young people without lots of money to come into London. There’s a risk that people will stop coming or that there might even be a talent drain of our own young people. We need to create opportunities where young Londoners can have a living wage.’
Put simply, we need to do everything we can to keep young talent in London. Talent like Shanice Mears, a creative intern who moved from Birmingham this year. She moved to London for the opportunities she felt the city had to offer, and has been thinking alot about diversity since moving here and starting in the creative industries. ‘London is the capital – and a leader of change. If you keep diversity, you keep creativity. Having different opinions and voices in the room provides innovative way of seeing things, with great results.’
Different viewpoints and opinions inducing better creative work seems like a no-brainer. Alex has already started to see brilliant work being produced as a result of the Great British Diversity Experiment. ‘The creative industry is far behind other sectors so we have to have an active debate on diversity. By ensuring a diverse workplace, we insure people are able to come to work and be their authentic selves, be happier and produce better, more creative work.’
This is certainly in line with Shanice’s experience. ‘Since being in the workplace and being a minority, I’ve questioned whether I was giving value. You’re not supposed to feel that way. You can feel token and like you’re having to present all black people and it’s assumed you’re going to know what all black people are thinking. If you know the value of diversity and yourself you can drive change.’
Diversity has always been at the forefront of the work of somewhereto_. We want to make sure that young people can access free space to be creative, follow their ambitions and ultimately stay in London, no matter what their background is; keeping the capital as diverse and creative as we should expect from a world city.