Aaqil Ahmed, Professor of Media, University of Bolton
The University of Bolton’s Professor of Media, Aaqil Ahmed, has been included in the launch of the online gallery of ‘Diversity Works...’
‘Diversity Works...’ is a collection of 101 portraits and perspectives of, primarily, workplace diversity from prominent business and thought leaders from a broad range of sectors.
Aaqil Ahmed previously served as Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bolton in 2012.
Before that he was with Channel 4 as Commissioning Editor for Religion and Head of Multicultural Programming. His commissions include many award-winning and high-profile projects such as Saving Africa's Witch Children, The Qur'an, Inside The Mind Of A Suicide Bomber, Christianity: A History and Revelations.
The ‘Diversity Works...’ project has been conceived and developed by the artist Shahid Bashir and curated by Dowshan Humzah. Some of the featured contributors work directly in the ‘diversity and inclusion’ field; however, many are leaders who actively choose to embrace diversity and inclusion within their core roles.
The project asks: ‘how is diversity perceived and experienced?’ It also challenges misconceptions that many still have in relation to diversity and expounds on the need to create workplace cultures and behaviours that are inclusive and embrace difference in the broadest sense.
The collection of photographic portraits has been taken in a particular style - moving away from the usual ‘happy, smiley corporate images’ using a contemporary black and white, deadpan style. The intention is to reflect the notion that diversity is not merely black and white, it is more about the grey areas in between.
The photography is accompanied by a powerful narrative prompted via a consistent format as each contributor has completed three statements: ‘Diversity Is...’; ‘Diversity Isn’t...’; and ‘Diversity Works...’.
The statements provide thought-provoking insight through a series of perspectives, which set out the value of diversity, what it isn’t and under what conditions it can truly flourish. Further, the statements reflect the nature and spirit of diversity - quite different yet linked and strengthened by difference.