Designers are Critical to Equity & Inclusion
From Laura Peck
Design is a social art. Designers create the environments for human life – from our physical spaces to the products we depend upon to the information that permeates our lives. It’s a powerful role but requires an active choice to use that power towards justice, equity and inclusion. In an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, the designer must anticipate the reality of the difference in ability, age, culture, gender and belief. When we embrace the opportunity, we can minimize limitations and exclusion. We can create a world that makes it possible for everyone to live fully, to participate as they wish, and to live the lives they choose. Fletcher will share a perspective, methods and global examples to build awareness and appetite to make a difference through inclusive design.
Valerie Fletcher has been executive director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD). Fletcher writes, lectures, and works internationally. She generates opportunities for IHCD and has broad oversight of all consulting and design services. She created the IHCD User/Expert Lab which has over 500 people engaged in the evaluation of places, products, and services. Her current research focus is generating data to inform inclusive designing for the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPoC) and low-income communities.
Fletcher’s career has been divided between design and public mental health and she is the former deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health where she oversaw the largest participatory planning process ever undertaken in a state mental health system. She was Principal of Fletcher Studio Design from 1978-1985.
She is councilor for the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. She has created an international universal design benchmarking project for the government of Singapore. Fletcher has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005. The Helen Hamlyn Research Centre at the Royal College of Art in London named her Inclusive Design Champion 2022.
This event is part of the Equity & Justice Network Design Series and co-sponsored by the Design Studies Department.