Sean Johns, BIM Performance Manager - Architecture

23 October, 2020

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What is your role and how long have you worked for Pick Everard?

I joined Pick Everard very recently in August 2020 as BIM Performance Manager, based within our Leicester office.  I work within our Architecture Discipline.  In my role I work on a variety of projects within the Built environment creating Revit Architectural content along with supporting documents for varying project requirements

What are your experiences of Black History Month?

I grew up in Jamaica and America, and I can’t remember Black History Month being celebrated much during that period.  Black History Month is celebrated in February in those countries. It is an opportunity to address stereotypes and breakdown barriers.  I’ve been living in England for about 16 years now and speaking honestly, I have never noticed Black History Month being marked.

I think the intent of a growing number of organisations to mark it is good.  It is all about equality and doing the right things to sustain the momentum gained by recent events.  This is what’s at the heart of it for me.

Even within the black community it is important for people to recognise that there is much more diversity and cultural difference than people realise.  Black History Month in its current state therefore needs to take account of this.  Black History Month needs to aim to be more inclusive and not exclude certain groups.   For example, you could have a black person who is also Asian, but there aren’t any celebrations currently for that aspect of their DNA.

I’d also like to see the recognition and celebrations extend beyond one month.  Restricting it to one month of the year runs the risk of us not sustaining the positive intention for the rest of the year.

What key take-aways do you have on Black History Month?

I think in many respects, Black History Month is about cultural awareness. Maybe it ought to be coined cultural awareness month, that would be a good step forward. What this would mean is that the event does not necessarily lock down on one race, at the expense of others, but encourages people to be open to the different cultures around them. Spending time understanding other cultures and learning about these would be a great way to bring people together.

Even as a black person, your history and experiences could differ significantly to another black person and therefore a celebration and raising of people’s awareness of this more could be much more effective.  Black History Month is a positive opportunity to break down stereotypes, educate and celebrate.  It has a supporting role to play in addressing the issue of diversity in leadership and the inclusivity and equality we should all be striving for. We should all look to make this much broader and open it out to others for it to be truly successful.

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