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I'm a Brown Girl From India. Is Design for me?

Image cred- Art.Sajid
As creative personnel, I believe we are endowed with the unique opportunity to bring diverse perspectives to the table and, in turn, foster the growth of minds that question

Over the years, after having dabbled in the creative industries for a while, one eventually has a better idea of its meandering allies. The journey that I embarked on from being a student of the University of Arts London to being a fresh graduate and eventually fighting for my way into this industry led me to have first-hand insight into many existing broiling issues in this industry.

I came to London in the year 2020. Whilst the apocalypse of a worldwide pandemic was ragging the roost, I landed in London with immense hope for a better future. Nevertheless, despite all the restrictions and hardships, I graduated with an M.A. in Graphic Branding and Identity.

For quite some time now, there has been an ongoing conversation concerning the under-representation of diverse ethnic groups or the creative industry being highly dominated by the white upper-middle-class male. I could visualise such issues from tight corners when I started to work in this industry.

According to reports by the Design Council, it has been seen that nearly two-thirds of the UK’s creative industries constitutes upper-class white male. This is despite women students taking up to 63 per cent of all design students in the UK. These numbers are far more alarming when it comes to the recruitment of Black Women within the design industry. Not only just from the perspective of recruitment, but the stats are pretty appalling when it comes to staffing from the minority communities for the UK’s design institutions.

Racism coupled with sexism is such deeply infused systematic institutionalised decadents that it has turned out to be a paradigm for lack of tolerance amongst everyday walks of life. Like most other industries of the UK, the creative industries could not save themselves from bearing the brunt of such biases.

Undoing such deeply entrenched social issues must be done at both structural and ideological levels. For this, not only educational institutions but also those standing on the other side, employers must come forward to deal with the issue effectively.

As I delved deeper, the more pertinent issue in this context has been the general air of ignorance that has brushed the Black or the minority communities of the UK. There's no doubt that the most sort after career choices amongst these groups is either being a doctor or engineer or other standard career choices. It is pretty sad to note that the majority of the minority groups are not aware of the prospective career options within the creative industries.

In some cases, studies show that despite being aware of such career choices, students from minority groups were quite wary of such decisions due to a lack of visible outcomes. Therefore, they have pursued their careers in different countries or returned to their home countries.

I had an hour-long conversation with an aspiring graphic designer visiting London for an interview. He seemed amicable and had a general essence of an artist, preferably due to his sartorial choices. He was a recent university graduate planning to move to London as he needed help finding suitable job opportunities in Bristol.

This has been the case for most students who shifted to London from other parts of the UK in search of better career options. Studies suggest that the creative industries have been highly restricted to in and around London, mainly covering the southeast sections of the UK. Because of this, despite the creative industries being the most lucrative industries of the UK, with an annual revenue generation of 2.3 billion pounds, the economic benefits are not shared homogeneously.

As a result, educators and employers have even more responsibility to break out of these geographical clusters. They need to come forward to spread educational and employment opportunities so that the UK’s economy unanimously could reap the benefits of its harvests. Moreover, such restrictions further hamper the diversification and growth of the UK’s creative workforce.

In the end, one could only suggest that being a member of a minority community, one needs to meander to several dark allies before one finally sees the light of day. But the question is, should one add-on to the bagasse when striving to cement one’s position in a world populated by 8 billion people?


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