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A Woman of Colour Enters the Workplace

A Woman of Colour Enters the Workplace is a body of work that explores, through a diagram and architectural drawings, the experiences of a woman of colour within the architectural office. 


The script is included in NOW YOU KNOW, a publication that brings together a collection of 50 reflections from architects and urbanists of colour addressing spatial inequality and discrimination in the built environment industry. From MBEs to architecture students, artists to urban policymakers, each contributor accompanies their poem, essay or interview with a concise tip and a tune ⁠— the Sound Advice DNA. Accompanying Saijel’s piece is the advice “It’s not my job to educate you. It’s yours.”

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The architectural drawing and script titled Act 3: A Woman of Colour Enters the Workplace, Scene 1: Overheard in the Office / Oppression is a fictional narrative based on true accounts from numerous peers of colour, highlighting the experiences of women of colour within the architectural office. The piece makes clear the very much still present racial biases and injustices within the profession, via a reality based fiction to point and allow the reader to identify with the experiences of the protagonist of the scene.

The diagram critiques how diversity of leadership influences the experience of a woman of colour within the workplace via two differing scenarios and 2 opposing leadership demographics. So often we work within institutions, especially in the architectural profession, where positions of power are held predominantly by white males. The policies and structures in place within these workplaces are made by them and therefore made to support them. Consequently, when the opposite ie. a woman of colour enters the workplace, it can present as a challenging environment for her to navigate. This  work is inspired and responds to The Chronicle of the Problem of Women of Color in a non-Profit’by Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence.

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