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What does empowerment and inclusivity look like in the design industry?

Last month, MillerKnoll and Queers in Property (QIP) came together to showcase queer designers in a LGBTQI+ speaker series which explored the journeys and work of leading queer designers. We give you the rundown.

What does empowerment and inclusivity look like in the design industry?

Queers in Property, an independent network, is on a mission to network and connect LGBTQI+ individuals within the property and construction industry.

Their goal is clear: to create a more inclusive environment which empowers their LGBTQI+ members and allies. This straightforward objective is driven by a deep commitment to fostering safe spaces where communities are empowered to grow, learn, live authentically, and build a brighter future together with professional support.

Founded by individuals who have spent years in the property and construction sector, Queers in Property aims to encourage inclusivity and challenge the discriminatory attitudes which have historically led LGBTQI+ people to find the design industry intimidating and unwelcoming. 

The networks founders are Meg Patten, Marketing Manager at Riverlee, Ben Rowe, Senior Development Manager at Riverlee, and Rossco Karabeles, National Director at The Property Agency. Together, they bring to the table a wealth of collective industry experience. Supported by a dedicated board of eight individuals, these queer leaders are determined to drive positive change within the industry.

Queers in Property has now expanded the scope of its operation by partnering with MillerKnoll to throw its very first dedicated design event. Held on September 7 at Living Edge’s Melbourne showroom, the event brought together professionals from a variety of backgrounds and sectors to paint a broad picture of the experiences and pathways open to queer people in the design industry.

The event’s three inspirational speakers included Angus Edward, Principal at Angus Edward Interior Design; Juan Luis Hernandes Flores, Interior Designer at Cera Stribley Architects; and Freya Robinson, Associate at Fender Katsalidis. These leading industry professionals delivered 10-minute, rapid-fire presentations detailing their personal journeys and diving into the question of how those experiences have influenced their professional work.

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This collaboration represents more than just an event; it symbolizes the power of unity between different sections of the industry and the value of community spaces. Each designer’s presentation was a window into their personal and professional development, revealing the ideas and projects that have significantly influenced their perspectives on design.

After the rapid-fire presentations, a thought-provoking Q&A session took place – offering the audience a chance to engage directly with the designers as well as Cecil Huang, MillerKnoll’s LGBTQI+ Business Resource Group Lead.

Huang shed light on MillerKnoll’s dedication to building an inclusive environment within their organisation, empowering employees to be their authentic selves.

James Barnby, Marketing Manager at MillerKnoll, comments: “Partnering with QIP gives MillerKnoll the opportunity to deepen our understanding of what LGBTQI+ members of the community are going through, and what their concerns are, while putting diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging front and centre for the rest of the industry too.”

The partnership between QIP and MillerKnoll will extend far beyond the event itself, signifying a commitment to the open-door exchange of ideas, resources, and experiences, pushing the industry forward. A powerful example of how partnerships can drive meaningful change in the property and construction industry, these organisations are leading the way towards a more inclusive future.

Stay up-to-date with Queers in Property.


Queers in Property

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