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School's second Celebrating Black Excellence event explores challenges in the construction industry

The School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment (ADBE) welcomed high-profile speakers, Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS and Dr Teri Okoro MBA ChPP FRIBA FAPM, to share their experiences and participate in a Q&A session at the second 'Celebrating Black Excellence in the Designed and Built Environment' forum on 20 January.

Bola Abisogun
Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS

Chaired by event co-organiser, Senior Lecturer in Construction Management, Dr Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, students, staff and external guests were treated to insightful presentations from the panel, followed by a comprehensive question and answer session.

Keynote speaker, Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS, provided the audience an insight into his 27-year professional career; a story punctuated by his successes, failures, and valuable lessons learnt.

Bola spoke of his commitment to creating a solution to diversity and inclusion across construction, technology and finance industries, establishing the first Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) network for BAME surveyors called Diverse City Surveyors in 2006 – a highly successful peer-to-peer network which has influenced the RICS competency framework – and chairing the unique pan-London project Moving on Up (MoU).

“Moving on Up became apparent for me because a lot of the young people who reached to me tended to be young black men. Representation matters.”

Bola shared the need to confront the uncomfortable truths to ensure representation in industry and build a sector that is truly inclusive. “The challenge has never been access, but retention”. In addition, Bola reflected on the digital transformation in construction that has arrived in stealth on the back of Covid-19, and how universities can be part of embracing its impact.

Teri Okoro
Dr Teri Okoro

Dr Teri Okoro shared her career experience and the challenges faced navigating milestones including qualifying as an Architect, gaining a PhD and starting her own practice, TOCA, whilst balancing family commitments. Highlighting negotiation as a key skill in the construction industry, Teri shared how her strengths enabled her progression and successes.

Dedicating her high-performance career to making the construction industry more inclusive, Teri spoke of her activities as part of the Construction Industry Council’s Diversity and Inclusion Panel and Inspire the Future outreach movement.

“Diversity is an element of sustainability. If you continue doing something the same way, you’ll never change or improve.”

The speakers were also joined by the School’s Executive Dean, Dr Andrew Knight, for a Q&A session. The panel took questions from the audience and discussed a range of topics, including decolonising the curriculum, mentoring opportunities and NTU’s role in challenging the industry and leading positive change in inclusion and innovation.

The School is delighted to continue its series of Celebrating Black Excellence events and plans to deliver the next event in March 2021.

Read about the inaugural event held in November 2020.

School's second Celebrating Black Excellence event explores challenges in the construction industry

Published on 10 February 2021
  • Subject area: Architecture and civil engineering
  • Category: Alumni; Current students; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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