I have just come across a piece that William Drenttel wrote for Design Observer earlier this month. It was in response to an all-male, all-white, all-Anglo jury panel put together by Adbusters magazine for the One Flag graphic design competition. I copy some excerpts below, you can read the whole piece here.
This is a competition for a flag to represent global citizenship — in this, the year of Barack Obama; the year of the 45th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech; and the year we celebrate the 88th anniversary of the U.S. 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. While the examples are rooted in American cultural experience, the principle — and the conclusion — remains the same: this is not the time for such limited vision. What winner would be proud of such an achievement, cast in these harsh terms?
[…] I’m writing this here not to further abuse Adbusters, but to forcefully argue that this should not happen again. It is time for organizations to encourage diversity as a part of developing new ideas, excellence and a richness in the future of design — an increased focus on multiculturalism, gender equality and globalism is more than appropriate in these times. Designers should take a personal pledge that they will not participate in events or initiatives that do not include participation by others, whether of sex, color or language. It’s a simple step, but it’s time.
Adbusters has acknowledged the problem and is reportedly working on selecting a more diverse panel.