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A Proactive Approach to Inclusive Design with Zariah Cameron

Zariah Cameron is Co-Director of Community + Research and the founder of AEI – Advocate, Educate, Innovate Black Design. She will be a speaker at October’s DesignOps Summit on streamlining an inclusive design practice.

Many companies and corporations have good intentions when it comes to inclusive design. But too often that’s where things both start and stop. Zariah helps companies operationalize their inclusive design principles and ideals by looking at design from all angles and instilling effective processes.

When exploring ideals of equity and inclusivity, many confuse inclusivity with accessibility. Accessibility is a fine place to start, but it’s just the beginning. Accessibility tends to be passive while inclusivity is active. Inclusive design proactively seeks out the marginalized, the underserved, and minority groups. It doesn’t make assumptions but seeks input, feedback, and follow-through.

For many companies, the most effective way to pursue inclusive design is to work with grassroots organizations. Partnering with such organizations provides corporations access to a diverse pool of participants. It’s a process of co-creation and involves a long-haul-relationship mentality.

Zariah mentions a variety of organizations that design teams could partner with to access diverse talent:

  • Creative Reaction Lab
  • Pause and Effect
  • Aroko Cooperative – seeking equity, liberation, community healing, and ecocentricy

What you’ll learn from this episode:

Quick Reference Guide

[0:00:37] Introduction of Zariah
[0:02:04] Inclusive design
[0:04:11] An example of a principle that needs to be operationalized
[0:05:25] How to take a more operational approach to inclusive design
[0:08:04] Inclusivity is active, not passive. It’s also relational.
[0:14:18] Inclusivity is relational and communal
[0:15:03] More on the AEI organization
[0:17:24] Other work with HBCU students
[0:19:40] A reminder about the October 2-4 DesignOps Summit
[0:20:48] Organizations to partner with to advance inclusivity and equity
[0:24:21] Zariah’s gift for listeners

Resources and links from today’s episode:

Creative Reaction Lab – crxlab.org/
Pause and Effect – www.pauseandeffect.ca/
Aroko Cooperative – www.aroko.coop/
State of the Black Design Conference in March 2024 – www.thesobd.com/
DesignOps Assembly – www.designopsassembly.com/