Designing for Diversity is a year-long, six-part webinar series, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute UK and the Khalili Foundation. First launched in Summer 2022, it is part of the wider World Festival of Cultural Diversity, in association with UNESCO. The series hopes to spotlight and widen the discourse on an important but often understated dimension of diversity: culture. It aims to provoke thought, generate ideas, and encourage action so that spaces in different areas of society can be better designed to cultivate intercultural exchange.
The goal of the series is to address the increasing division in society based on the understanding that effective intercultural exchange fosters mutual understanding, respect, creativity and, ultimately, peace and unity.
We kicked off the series with ‘Cities and Communities’, a conversation on how to design our public spaces to make them more welcoming and open to people of different cultural backgrounds. The panel featured speakers: Shanaz Gulzar, Chair of the Bradford City of Culture Bid 2025; Sunder Katwala, Director of UK think-tank British Future; Harriet Wennberg, Executive Director of INTBAU; and Armstrong Yakubu, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners. The discussion was moderated by Paul Owens, Director of BOP Consulting and Founder of the World Cities Culture Forum.
Their wide-ranging discussion covered the importance of designing a city around diversity, and the challenges that arise in retaining traditions and remaining open to different cultural influences. They explored how architects can design public spaces that are welcoming, open, and put people first, drawing on real-life examples to showcase how these aspirations can be successfully implemented.
Our next instalment ‘Schools and Education’, taking place on the 27 September 5:30pm BST, will bring together educators, academics, and non-profit leaders to explore how to enhance intercultural exchange in schools, universities, and curricula. The conversation will focus on how we can devise a curriculum that produces a more well-rounded cultural education for our youth; we will look at how we can we bring together students of different cultural backgrounds to learn and exchange experiences together.
We will be joined by panellists Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, visiting Professor and Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and Co-Founder of Visionable Global; Faiqa Amreen, Professional Development Specialist at Lyfta and former Head of History at Park View School; Zulum Elumogo, Special Advisor at freuds Communications and ex-President of The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Students’ Union; and Tariq Modood, Professor and founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. James Westhead, Head of Engagement at Big Society Capital & former Executive Director at Teach First, will be moderating the discussion.
Find out more here about the series, announcements on our panels, and how to register for the upcoming instalments.