This challenge gave the opportunity to explore the meaning of diversity and inclusion on a personal level.
It’s been deeply meaningful for me as a journey as I was thinking about this challenge, which essentially consists of two parts- reach out to the community on the topic of diversity and inclusion, and get them to care enough to take action.
When I first approached this challenge, I started to ideate around picture-perfect stock photos with people of different races, gender, age, of people with disabilities and the able-bodied. People of all shapes and sizes, essentially posing for the perfect concept of diversity and inclusion, as so often portrayed by the media.
Then, I had my first breakthrough: how does this matter to people?
I delved deeper- I wanted to let people understand why it’s important for us to include. From that led to concept number two- putting a real face to the stock photos. I wanted to showcase people of colour, the visually handicapped, homosexuals etc. I wanted to bring in their stories, of their struggles and challenges, of how they overcame them. Hopefully when we break out of our own bubble and emphasise more with people living completely different lives from our own, it would ignite a desire to participate.
I struggled with this for a while- why does this sound like a charity case? That’s when I realised that I had made the mistake of thinking that I (or the audience) was in the ‘circle of trust’ and thinking of ways to get others in.
It highlighted differences and creates detachment.
It missed the point of diversity and inclusion.
There’s a quote from Vernā Myers saying that "Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Diversity is not a code word for race or gender. Inclusion is not about ‘trying to be nice’. With this campaign, I wanted people to think about diversity and inclusion in their own terms. To connect back to a personal moment in their lives where they felt excluded. It is then where we began to realise that feelings of fear, loneliness, or lack of self worth are things that anyone can identify with, regardless of who we are.
In essence, diversity and inclusion is about being human.