Umi Baden-Powell

Activist / Architectural Designer / Creative director, insider-outsider / PUBLIC PRACTICE / Royal College of Art


British Dominican activist architectural designer and creative director Umi Baden-Powell works on projects across complex social contexts in the UK and the Global South. Educated at UCL, the Royal College of Art and Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design Alumni, a design-led research centre that has pioneered inclusive design to address social challenges since the early 1990s. Umi champions inclusive and participatory approaches, harnessing speculative and human centred principles to design spaces where innovation, productivity and creativity can all thrive. Founding Director of not-for-profit design consultancy insider-outsider and an Associate with Public Practice Umi leads on Housing Growth Engagement within Newham Council's biggest Council house building programme since the 1970s. Driven by a commitment to widening participation in the built environment and to catalysing the profession to be as diverse as the society we aspire to serve, Umi designs and builds spaces with people, particularly those who may not have historically been invited to have a seat at the table. Umi's practice co-creates ecological, inclusive, and collective architecture designed with under-represented stakeholders. This, Umi believes, is how we can open up possibilities to improve lives, build communities, heal cities, and recover our planet.

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