This is a diversity conversation for everyone. Each fortnight, guests from the world of business, culture and the arts drop in to discuss how we make diversity everyone's business. The podcast series explores how being different has shaped our guests, and how they believe difference can be embraced to drive positive cultural and commercial returns rather than division. The Speakeasier is inclusive by design.
Lisa Power - Not capturing LGBT+ history? Surely it's a sin
In episode 17 of The Speakeasier we're joined by Lisa Power MBE. Lisa is an LGBT+ history consultant, sexual health & LGBT+ rights campaigner whose portfolio of achievements is nothing short of remarkable. Not only did Lisa co-found the Pink Paper and Stonewall, she was also one of the first volunteers for Lesbian & Gay Switchboard, as well as the first openly LGBT+ person to speak at the United Nations and - more recently - a consultant in the creation of Channel 4’s most successful drama series ever, It’s a Sin. All this makes Lisa more than qualified to help us delve into the subject of queer history.
Looking from the past to the present with a sense of forthrightness which we welcome, Lisa explains how the success of It’s a Sin is grounded in lived experience and authentic stories from the 1980s. She also talks openly about navigating the complex identity politics of the time, using a feeling of tokenism as a lesbian to ensure her voice was heard.
We also discuss the responsibility that organisations and individuals within them have when it comes to LGBT+ inclusion. Plus, what needs to change in order for queer history to take a more permanent position in modern culture.
Hearing all of this (and so much more), it becomes very clear why Lisa is so passionate about preserving such a valuable part of British history. Referring to her vast experience with unapologetic candor, Lisa’s is most definitely a voice worth hearing.
Sathnam Sanghera - Colonisation. Empire. British History: are the things we never learned holding us back?
Our first episode of 2021 welcomes the author and broadcaster, Sathnam Sanghera. With the recent release of his new book, Empireland: How Modern Britain is Shaped by its Imperial Past, we look to Sathnam to help us understand how the things we aren’t taught about Britain are holding us back from a more inclusive future.
Sathnam talks unapologetically about our right to criticise the country we live in order to learn, accept and progress, and how to reach this point, our education systems must make radical changes to the way they approach British history.
We also discuss the perceptions of Britain from the outside, which aren’t as starry-eyed as they used to be. With major shifts in prosperity, Sathnam points out that - although it may come as a shock - people in India are not obsessed with the UK. A past notion which we are yet to shake.
Building on this, we discuss the right-wing’s war on wokeness, the role of business in picking up where government fails and how criticism of language can distract from what actually matters. Plus a lot more which it just wouldn’t be fair to condense into one paragraph.
Throughout the episode, Sathnam shows why an inclusive Britain can only be built by uncovering the multicultural foundations which are already there. We just haven’t been taught about it yet.
Greg Bunbury - do we need more diversity in design?
During a year that many businesses and individuals have been forced to reevaluate the way they think and act, how can we carve out a more diverse, purpose-driven design industry? On this episode of The Speakeasier we’re joined by award winning graphic designer and consultant, Greg Bunbury, to discuss the intersections of diversity, design and activism. We look back at some of the most active moments of 2020; the momentum of Black Lives Matter, the amplification of Black History Month and the shared experience of a national lockdown, to find out what lessons we can learn about the power of design activism, and how to carry them forward next year.
Samantha Renke - how can disability make business braver?
In this week’s episode of The Speakeasier we’re joined by actor, columnist, public speaker and disability campaigner Samantha Renke, to talk about why brands should stop holding back when it comes to the representation of disability in comms and campaigns. Throughout the episode, Sam injects endless humour and passion, drawing on her personal and professional experience to explain how optimised accessibility can benefit everyone. We also discuss the role that ego has in preventing true inclusion, and how a little bit of bravery can take business a long way.
Asma Shah - how can we become anti-racist?
In this episode of The Speakeasier, we chat with the glorious Asma Shah, founder and CEO of empowerment organisation You Make It, and advisor on the Mayor of London's Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion board. Asma is open about her experience of the negative effects of gentrification, solitude within her industry and first-hand racism. Now, she’s empowering young women to thrive in the working environment and showing others how to push back against racism, whatever form it takes. If you’re wondering how to put action against racism, this one is definitely worth a listen.
Sulaiman Khan - can creativity be disabled?
In episode 12 we talk to Sulaiman Khan, founder and Chief Purpose Officer at ThisAbility, a disability-led equity business that aims to change workplace culture by destabilising the accepted narratives of creativity and disability. We discuss how disabled people are inherently creative given they “hack” life everyday to overcome physical, social and attitudinal barriers. Sulaiman also offers practical advice to non-disabled people to facilitate creating connections with those with disabilities both in business and in life.