Preparing Undergraduate Designers Using the Results of a DE&I Survey of the Local Design Industry


This paper presents and analyzes the hidden biases in the Dubai design industry and proposes a pedagogical framework to assist students in transitioning into the workforce by equipping them with relevant tools to tackle their occurrences and engaging in reflection around their own biases. Diversity of Dubai is heralded everywhere, yet many designers experience bias from clients, colleagues, and employers. The framework of the survey was based on bias studies conducted in the USA by AIA and in the UK by BIID, with questions modified to align with cultural appropriations applicable to the UAE. Understanding that bias exists is the first element, then followed by bias interrupters. ‘Bias Interrupters for Architecture’ is published by AIA and it discusses various strategies that can help firms’ “diversity metrics, foster a culture of belonging, and make progress toward eliminating bias” (AIA). Data was collected from September until December, 2022. Findings from the survey and approaches from the bias interrupters report will inform lectures, tasks, discussions and other tools in professional practice class and any other classes which support students’ understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Survey findings are expected to confirm that various biases exist. By illuminating both what students may face as professionals and their own hidden biases, they are better able to identify bias and to not engage in similar behaviors. It is important to tackle this issue from various angles simultaneously. Therefore, teaching students the significance of their role in this equation is also an important aspect of everyone’s success.

Author Information
Kristin Lee, American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Malini Karani, Independent Researcher, United Arab Emirates

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2023
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the SEACE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Lee K., & Karani M. (2023) Preparing Undergraduate Designers Using the Results of a DE&I Survey of the Local Design Industry ISSN: 2435-5240 The Southeast Asian Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon