Inspiring Inclusion: Women Shaping the Design Landscape

Promoting Inclusivity through Collaboration with Jo Boateng

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.

Jo Boateng is a talented artist who specialises in jewellery and printmaking. She grew up in Kumasi, Ghana, where she was heavily influenced by the arts and crafts of her childhood. Additionally, her interest in Memphis, the Italian art movement, from the 1980s also plays a significant role in her work. Jo’s most recent achievement is winning the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Silver Award for the 3D Ready to Wear Jewellery Category, as well as the National Association of Jewellers & BATF Award for Top in Category.

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

‘The process of inspiring someone to take action can be slow, but it’s possible to include everyone regardless of perceived differences. The International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign highlights the importance of diversity and empowerment in all aspects of society, while acknowledging the progress that has been made, particularly in the creative sector. As an artist, I’m encouraged to see diverse forms of artists and makers being showcased in some of London’s greatest art institutions lately. However, the existence of IWD shows that there is still work to be done.

My guiding principle in building my brand is to collaborate with and support individuals who share similar values, are skilled, and bring a diversity of thought and experience.

 Let us continue to work towards a more inclusive and diverse society, where everyone has the opportunity to showcase their talents and be celebrated for their capabilities.’

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

‘There are so many amazing women out there who are making significant contributions in their respective fields and disciplines. I am inspired by people who are confident and bold in pursuing their goals. I highly respect those who find time to give back to people starting their creative journey. I deeply respect creatives who remain true to themselves and express their creativity freely without feeling the need to conform, as I believe that is when they produce their best work. I have great admiration for women who can juggle multiple responsibilities in their personal and professional lives and still manage to find time to develop their passions.’

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

‘Work hard, be committed, be authentic and be kind.’

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

‘I want to acknowledge and celebrate all the women (as it is IWD) striving and being sustained by their passion and drive to create. It is tough out there to get the visibility and support for emerging makers. I wish them all success.’

To experience Jo’s work for yourself, join us at New Designers 2024 where she will be exhibiting her designs as part of ND Selects. Learn more below.

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