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Inspiring Inclusivity: Insights from Corstorphine & Wright’s IWD 2024 Panel Discussion

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By Natasha Clarke – 8th March 2024

In honour of International Women’s Day, Corstorphine & Wright hosted an internal panel discussion on the IWD 2024 theme of #InspireInclusion.

Chaired by Natasha Clarke, Non-Executive Director of Corstorphine & Wright, this discussion brought together voices from across the Practice, alongside one of our trusted partners and external collaborators, Charlotte Evans who has worked within the architectural industry for over a decade. Much of it focussed on the female experience of inclusivity, both within Corstorphine & Wright and within the architecture industry as a whole. We took it as an opportunity to recognise the journey we’ve been on as an organisation; the strides made to reflect and improve; and why our panellists are passionate to “Inspire Inclusion”.

Alongside Natasha and Charlotte, participating on the panel from Corstorphine & Wright were Suzanne Ross, Head of Operations, Tarryn Leeferink, Architect & Associate Director and Paul Turner, Group Director.

Our panellists all have different perspectives on what is important to consider when it comes to inclusion. Paul revealed that he’s interested in this strand of developing the Practice because as a founding Director, they started a business that people would enjoy being a part of and he recognises that in his position, he has the opportunity to directly influence and make a difference both in the company and the wider industry.

Similarly, Suzanne as Head of Operations feels passionate about where we can go as a company, “I love this company,” she shared “and I want it to fulfil its potential. The only way it’s ever going to do that is by being full of diverse people and being led by diverse thought and leadership.” It is clear how proud she is to be driving change internally and “breaking barriers for one creates change for all”.

PR consultant, Charlotte Evans, joined us as an external perspective. She considers herself “at the coal face” of this topic, juggling motherhood, family and running a successful agency. Within architecture, it “has been an industry that has been quite slow to move on this, which is quite odd given the influence women have had on architecture over hundreds of years.”

Tarryn reflected on the intersectionality required to be truly inclusive. A lack of diversity within architecture is not helped by the long education process but this is where Corstorphine & Wright can truly stand out. She is proud of the practice’s commitment and ethos of ‘opening doors and widening participation’ by connecting with schools in less privileged areas to encourage all routes through architectural education. Tarryn was clear that on all DEI topics “the more we talk about it, the more widespread the understanding becomes and then everyone can become an advocate for change”.

As Architects and Designers, we influence how society is physically built, as Tarryn said “We are passionate about designing the cities of the future…but from the perspective of the privileged few who have access into architecture”, so we must prioritise reflecting how the social demographics are built within our professional community. Charlotte added that “practices must be the change they want to see.”

As the panel came to an end, Natasha summed up the highly interesting and passionate conversation with: “The responsibility we have is to look at who’s coming through and encourage more women into the industry and make the industry more attractive. That’s achieved by the environment we create and how we support women navigating through their careers.”

Thank you to our panel for sharing their invaluable insights and perspectives on promoting inclusivity within the Practice, architecture industry and society. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s all continue to champion diversity, empower women, and inspire inclusion across our lives. You can visit our social media pages on LinkedIn, Instagram and X to watch clips of the talk.

Together, let’s create a more inclusive future for all.

For more information on International Women’s Day visit:

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