My work strives at all times to take a inter-cultural perspective, and I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work on projects with designers and organisations around the world, from economically and socially deprived communities in the Highlands of Scotland to the video game development community in Johannesburg. I believe that my own blurry identity, being a French/American born in the Middle East and living in Scotland for 13 years, has led me to understand that there are always more cultural frameworks to be incorporated and understood as part of any creative process, and has given me a thirst for voices and perspectives that are different from my own.
Diversity is therefore not something that I feel should be added to existing practice, but one that should be structurally integral at all levels of thinking and output. Any artistic and academic work that does not take into account the fundamental iniquities embedded into our society is simply not relevant, and as such it is absolutely a requirement that all forms of teaching and creativity are situated within a strong foundation of cultural and social awareness.
In terms of teaching activity, this can manifest itself most simply in terms of being aware of the content I am teaching and the events that I am a part of. I always ensure, for example, that the readings I assign and the work examples I reference come from a diverse body of writers and designers, and I refuse to take part in non-diverse panels and conferences.
I also strive to be conscious of the pitfalls of using using my own lived experience as a socially and economically privileged white cisgendered male to inform how I relate and react to issues surrounded diversity and inclusion. I certainly can not use my own limited frame of reference to understand the situations that my colleagues and students could find themselves in. As such, my main recourse needs be one of action – being actively aware of the privileges that an inherently unfair society has given me, making time to listen to concerns voiced by marginalized groups or people, helping to facilitate meaningful change, and being ready to accept and respond positively to strong criticism of my own actions, ideas, and preconceptions.