Public Forum: update from the Designers Institute

by Catherine Griffiths

The following update to members was also posted on Instagram and Facebook by Cathy Veninga, CEO, The Designers Institute of New Zealand:


Public Forum: New Date To Be Advised

There has been a conversation on social media and within the design community on the importance of diverse and inclusive representation in our industry. We are planning to consult and discuss this topic with the design community through a public forum to help determine the best way to effect change and move forward as a collective.

In July, we proposed a public forum for August 30 to allow everyone the opportunity to air their views and contribute ideas with an independent facilitator to lead the discussion.

We are working to engage the right facilitator, but our 30 August date has proven to be too tight to be able to confirm a commitment. Regrettably we have to postpone our plans for the forum until we have secured the best facilitator.

We will update you as soon as we can and send an invitation once we have a new date. We understand this delay is not ideal and appreciate your patience as we work through this process.

If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to email me at

Cathy Veninga – CEO


Our response — useful to consider that the issue, amongst others, is the iconic 40–3 statistic, which after twenty years, suggests there may be a governance or constitution issue. While a public forum organised by DINZ and led by the “right” or “best” facilitator could be the start of a solution, an independent professional audit would discover exactly where processes have gone dreadfully astray.


Designers Speak (Up)

3 thoughts on “Public Forum: update from the Designers Institute”

  1. As an interested person on the sidelines it seems to me that important issues have been identified in a very considered and cogent way. Many of the analyses given have identified the issues as structural, for which I believe the most appropriate remedy is a process based response. It seems to me that the debate has passed the ‘lets get together and talk and lay out the issues’ stage – that has been done. It seems to me that the talk should now focus on a process based proposal to address issues. It would seem most appropriate for DINZ, as the peak design organisation to propose such a process for discussion and in so doing demonstrate leadership, rather than defensiveness.

  2. It’s interesting that DINZ didn’t see this as an issue before you called it out. It’s disappointing that an organisation led by a woman can be so short-sighted and out of touch with this problem in our industry.

    Why the big production of a public forum and finding the “best facilitator” (whatever that means) and lengthy delays and throw away terms like “effect change” and “move forward”? Why does DINZ need this huge process to see that the design community as a whole is in favour of equality, diversity, and inclusion?

    Here’s a crazy solution: nominate, appoint, promote, and award more women/women identifying/POC.

    A very disappointing response from DINZ.

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