As an ally to women, I was honoured to be asked to participate on a panel for this year’s outstanding women creatives, a session run by Cannes Lions Live called See It, Be It.

We spent some time thinking about the theme of Rebuilding Together, exploring the future of work and how our authentic lived experiences are changing the way we interact and advocate for each other both in the workplace and wider world.

I chose to use this opportunity to speak about intersectionality and inclusion. Bringing our whole selves to work, being vulnerable in that space and the potential for us to unlock incredible creative work alongside a closeness to our colleagues. Now more than ever, we need human connection and allyship.

Last year we were collectively stripped of our freedoms, not just how and where we could safely exist because of COVID, but also how we could progress. These invisible prisons still carry weight—the lost job opportunity, the deferred degree, the lack of safety net needed to leave a partner or a place. In recent months it feels as if many of us have reconnected with our agency, our strength, and with it our capacity to think deeply about others. 

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What better opportunity than to sit with the creative leaders of tomorrow and talk about the power of intersectionality to drive innovation and inclusion?

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As a group we began with intersectionality—the framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. We were considering our race, sex, gender identity and expression, our sexuality, disability or neurodiversity, religion, class, age and physical appearance. How the combination of these factors change our experience within the world. We’re also thinking about how the success and failure of so many creative endeavours are intrinsically linked to the diversity of the people answering the challenge.

The diversity of identity and experience among our group was significant, this allowed for us to spend time together sharing our own lived experiences and building greater empathy because of that.

While many of us don’t have an everyday opportunity to change these inherently biased structures in wider society, we do have the chance to make a change at work. We cannot create meaningful work, we cannot think as a group, without diversity. There is only an echo chamber.

When we make a space for agency, autonomy and individuality for all participants, we start to understand where the true challenges sit and we have the conditions to make incredible work.

I left the session feeling that the participants had given to me as much as I gave to them, and I found myself rejuvenated with the knowledge that there were a group of outstanding creatives from across the globe selected by Cannes Lions Live who are striving to open doors for others and openly share their own lived experiences for better, bolder creative work.

At Cannes Lions Live 2021, Accenture Interactive will be showcasing how we use creativity, technology and deep human and business insights to reimagine experiences.

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Grace Francis

Experience Lead – Karmarama, part of Accenture Interactive

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