Sitting down to take a stand for diversity
Published On Mon 21 May 2018 by Jonathan Watson
Transforming stage fright into a force for good can help to challenge patriarchal attitudes in society, a leading entrepreneur claims.
Lauren Currie OBE is inviting members of the public to join her on stage when she appears as the latest guest speaker at the University of Dundee’s Saturday Series.
The designer and founder of startup ‘#upfront’ has designed a new approach to stage curation to challenge established attitudes at public events. #Upfront involves speakers sharing their stage with members of the audience who would like to experience the spotlight without any pressure to perform.
A graduate of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Lauren says she hopes to share the spotlight with a handful of audience members when she speaks at the University’s Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, on Saturday 26 May - helping them take one step closer to speaking on stage themselves one day.
Explaining the ethos behind #upfront, she said, “Our stages are dominated by white middle aged men and this warps our perception of what power and influence looks like. I believe you can’t be what you can’t see.
“Before #upfront there was no way to ‘practice’ being on stage. Now, over 300 men and women have sat on our couch on stages around the world and they are now 30% more likely to speak on stage themselves one day.
“It’s a great way to step outside your comfort zone and get a feel for what it is like to be on stage.”
Originally from Kilmarnock, Lauren graduated from Dundee in 2009 having studied Product Design at undergraduate level, before gaining a Masters in Design with Distinction.
Now based in London, she is the co-founder of the Snook service design agency, is Head of Design at the charity collaborative The Good Lab, while founding #upfront in 2016.
Last year she received an OBE for her services to British design industry exports and to diversity in design, while previously she has been listed by Management Today as one of the UK’s top business women under 35 and one of Elle Magazine’s 30 women under 30 who are changing the world.
Lauren is the final of this year’s Saturday Series guest speakers, the oldest continuous free series of public talks in Scotland.
The event takes place on Saturday 26 May from 6–7pm, with tickets available online, while anybody wishing to join Lauren on stage can apply by sending an email to email@example.com with the subject line ‘University of Dundee’.
The audience is advised that overflow theatres may be in use with the main theatre filled on a first come, first seated basis.
The event will be followed by a drinks reception.
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