Though the School of Art and Design has long considered itself a diverse, inclusive institution, the Black Lives Matter movement this summer served as a catalyst to urgently reexamine our diversity and inclusion efforts and to make some immediate changes to that end.
In June 2020, the school held a virtual diversity and inclusion town hall meeting which highlighted the voices of our faculty and students of color. It was very enlightening and emphasized the work that still needs to be done to make the School of Art and Design a more welcoming, representative community of students, faculty, and staff.
From this meeting, the School of Art and Design opened the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to anyone interested to be part of it and its numbers grew dramatically to include 20 dedicated and passionate staff, faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students who are actively working toward goals that will shift our teaching practices, curricula, and school culture to be anti-racist and decentralize whiteness.
Recent Diversity and Inclusion Accomplishments
Murals on Campus
The School of Art and Design added two new murals to our Art North building in summer 2020 which are both in alignment with the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. Undergraduate Sabrina Davidson and alumna Avia Rose Ramm focused on themes of diversity, equality, and representation by depicting historical and contemporary issues and practitioners.
Amplify Speaker Series
In alignment with our Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, the School of Art and Design launched a new fall speaker series, Amplify: Practicing Solidarity, organized by faculty member Amy Sanchez Arteaga. The series brings 10 notable artists and designers of color from various fields to our virtual learning platform. Presenters discussed their work, their process, and their experiences as artists of color making work and engaging communities. Presentations were free and open to the public. Our Amplify speaker series will continue in spring 2021 with a new theme.
Equity for Committee Members
Equity is important to the values and process of the School of Art and Design. We recognize that institutional structures set up a situation where tenure-track and staff members were funded for DI committee work while lecturers and students were not. As an intervention, we sought outside funding to support all members in this vital work.
The School of Art + Design developed five new, paid student assistant positions that will run through the academic year. These positions, one undergraduate and four graduate students are supporting the work of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and helping to launch a new Outreach program that is aimed at reaching local students in marginalized communities as well as first generation college students.
Healing Art Workshops
As a part of the School of Art and Design Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, Prison Arts Collective will offer a series of workshops on art and healing in fall 2020 to inspire and support the full SDSU community and beyond during this difficult time.
SDSU School of Art and Design’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee continues to work towards achieving its goals. To read more about the school’s DI efforts, please see the Art+Design+DI Initiative 2020
The School of Art and Design is grateful to the Jack Webb and Joan Schlossman Fund for Art and Social Justice and the Michele Schlecht Visiting Artist Fund for supporting this initiative.