Thanks very much to Rukmini Patel and Kate Watson-Smyth of Mad About The House for looking to improve diversity across the design industry by creating the Design for Diversity Pledge.
For some time I have been concerned about the lack of diversity in the artists we collaborate with at The Monkey Puzzle Tree.
What started as working with friends has now become a more active search for the next artist. The applications I received initially were almost entirely from white artists. Trying to articulate this problem and ask for help in the small business community was received with slight discomfort and little encouragement.
And it seems that social media ensures that it's hard to reach out of the bubble of people similar to yourself.
Recent events have changed all this though and with the courage to be more direct and with the help of many shares I'm happy to say that we've finally had a great and diverse response and our new artist will be revealed soon!
We are also pleased to see that our suppliers are all signing up - and we will be encouraging those that have not yet to pledge in the future.
Representing our local community in the North of England is very important to us, from the artists we work with to the mills and suppliers we choose to make our products.
Despite this intention we have been aware for some time that our artist call outs have not been reaching a diverse audience. As well as more actively promoting opportunities to our whole community, we hope that taking this pledge makes us approachable by everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, disability or economic status.
We encourage our suppliers to do the same and we aim to work with those companies who share these values.
Charlotte Raffo 3rd July 2020
After much searching we are overjoyed to be announcing our next new artist - Josephine McYebuah!
We have been looking since January 2020, and it's taken us this long to find Josephine who is based less than 5 miles from our studio. The publicity around Black Lives Matter and Design for Diversity has definitely helped us get our message out there.
We're working on an innovative new design together, watch this space!
Read the progress report on Design for Diversity by Mad about the House here