A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

From the Design Museum's CEO Tim Marlow:

'A vital part of the Design Museum’s mission is to reflect on design's role at the forefront of social, environmental and technological change. Design and architecture have long been inadequately representative of society at large and the powerful movement across the world over the last six months and beyond only serves to remind us of how far we still have to go in diversifying these disciplines and making them accessible and relevant to all.

This is not a new commitment but does reaffirm our position that the Design Museum is an anti-racist organisation. The museum stands in solidarity with the Black community and all those who suffer as a result of racism and the unequal world that it creates. Since June 2020, we have begun a process of reviewing the way we work with the intention of building a future for the museum where equality and inclusion are at the heart of what we strive to achieve. Here I share with you the Design Museum's commitment to combat racism in our own organisation and our industry at large. In doing so, we acknowledge that we may not always have the answers, but we’re listening, learning and actively responding to promote and embed equality, diversity and inclusion within the design community.'

The Commitments

The Design Museum has developed and agreed a two phase action plan for the next 24 months:


Phase 1: Culture Change (9-12 months)

  • Diversifying the museum's board of trustees and external committees through new appointments.
  • Establish new platforms and avenues for recruitment that attract more diverse candidates.
  • Resourcing compulsory anti-racism and unconscious-bias training and development for all staff, delivered on an annual basis.
  • Introducing an anti-racist induction for all new starters.
  • Ensuring that annually 50% of the museum's contributors to the public programme and online content are People of Colour (POC).
  • Review the museum's use of language and imagery to build a shared framework that is more inclusive and anti-racist.


Phase 2: Embedding Change (1-2 years)

  • Implementing ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ objectives as part of staff appraisals.
  • Articulate a strategy for diversifying the museum’s exhibitions, collection, and learning programmes.
  • Establish partnerships with organisations that support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the cultural and design sectors.
  • Develop a strategy for diversifying the museum's supply chain to ensure that the museum's is supporting and partnering with a plurality of businesses across departments.
  • Create an annual public conference to be held at the Design Museum to address issues that impact People of Colour (POC) in museums and the design sector.

The Design Museum has established an internal cross-departmental steering group called DEMAND (Design Museum Anti-Discrimination Group).

The purpose of this group is to provide a support structure for POC (People of Colour) who are working at the museum and to address issues of discrimination and unconscious bias that exist within the museum, its workforce and programme.

Working closely with the CEO, Director of Audiences and wider Executive Team, DEMAND is supporting the museum in developing its anti-discrimination action plan.

Access and Inclusion Charter

The Access and Inclusion Charter is a public commitment by the Design Museum to promote the values of diversity and inclusion throughout our institution and is essential so that we reflect the communities we serve.

“I start from the place that we have not done enough, and we need to do more. To guide the museum from where we are, working with the Access and Inclusion steering group at the museum, we have drafted a charter. This charter is to help us grow individually and as an organisation, to shift culture and align our work behind a defined approach.

The need for diversity, access and inclusion is embedded in the museum's values. We prioritise our welcome - striving to be open to all visitors regardless of need. We value collaboration, and it will be by giving voice to those that we do not currently represent or include, that we will be truly collaborative. We value entrepreneurship and by attracting a broader range of talent we will reach our potential. Not least though, we are forward looking and value the significant contribution that designers can make to improving access and inclusion.

Therefore, through our programmes, we want to be the museum that foregrounds design innovation and research in the field of access and inclusion. We want to amplify access and inclusion experts, whether they be designers or those with lived experience. It doesn’t always mean that we will get it right, or that we will succeed, but we have a guiding charter to help the museum navigate and adapt as we learn and grow.” 

Josephine Chanter, Director of Audiences


The following commitments relate to us internally as a workplace, and externally as a museum.


We will:

  • Develop and maintain an inclusive and accessible museum and workplace.

  • Recognise, respect and celebrate the contributions audiences can make to strengthen the museum’s performance.

  • Encourage the development of good access and inclusion practice by sharing knowledge, research and data to help contribute to positive change.

  • Undertake regular training in diversity, access and inclusion.

  • Strive to achieve best practices in recruitment, retention and career progression practices as employers.

  • Embed diversity, access and inclusion in our programmes



  • Include the Charter on our website to publicly demonstrate our commitment to this agenda.

  • Assign responsibility for meeting our Charter commitments to senior, named individuals across the museum.

  • Work together to ensure the practical implementation of the aims set out in this Charter so that the outcomes are meaningful and impactful.

  • Prioritise resources across the museum, including financial, for access and inclusion.

  • Publish a short report annually to monitor the success of the Charter, and track areas where development is necessary.

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The world's leading museum devoted to contemporary design.