Inspiring Inclusion: Women Shaping the Design Landscape

Designing for All with Margo Selby

International Women’s Day 2024 is coming up this week, with this year’s edition honouring the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion’.

We’ve spoken to a number of inspirational members of the #NDCommunity who have shared their experiences of being a woman in the design industry, and what inspires them to forge a more inclusive future. In this series of interviews, meet the individuals who are breaking down barriers and driving inclusion in their practices to shape the future of design with creativity and resilience.

Margo Selby is a British artist and designer of woven textiles. She studied at Chelsea College and the RCA – and exhibited at New Designers in 1999. Since then, she has built a business, and established an expansive approach to working in textiles – across art, design and industry, with partners including Osborne & Little, John Lewis and Habitat. Margo’s practice as a weaver is at the heart of all of the studio projects.

Her successful career in textiles has been recognised in 2021 with the award of the Turner Medal for Britain’s Greatest Colourist.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, what does this mean to you and your business?

‘We have a team of 12 incredible women – ‘Inspire inclusion’ connects with my ethos that we are all equals. I like us to run the business as a team, with everyone included in the day to day decision making. Our work is also inclusive as it is accessible to all; everyone is able to respond to it in their own way. 

We love working to make public art to make our work inclusive to everyone – an example of this is our recent moon landing artwork which was installed in London for Collect 24. Designed as an immersive piece in collaboration with composer Helen Caddick to fill a space with colour and music to be enjoyed by everyone.’

Margo Selby

Is there a particular woman in the design world that inspires you?

‘I am inspired by my friend Annalie Riches who is an architect leading the way in sustainability in housing. Her company Mikhail Riches won the Stirling prize for architecture for Goldsmith Street in Norwich – the first ever UK based passive council houses.’

What piece of advice would you give to women pursuing a career in the design world?

‘Create thoughtfully and with passion whilst considering your impact on the world. Design is a wonderful tool for story telling and influencing people as well as enhancing the world.’

Is there a particular woman designer or women-run design business you’d like to give a shout out to?

‘Susy Paisley a dear friend and wonderful woman who runs the thoughtful textile company Newton Paisley, Susy is a biologist, artist and designer telling stories about endangered and neglected species through textile design.’

Margo Selby, Moon Landing, 2024
Margo Selby, Moon Landing, 2024

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