RISD Launches “Race in Art & Design” Cluster Hire

Social Equity and Inclusion initiative

In response to student activism and calls from BIPOC faculty members to diversify RISD’s faculty and curricula, RISD has launched a search for 10 new full-time faculty members with expertise in the areas of race, colonization, decolonization, post-coloniality and cultural representation, as well as in material practices of resistance. The “Race in Art & Design” cluster-hire initiative—one of many actions RISD has committed to in its plan to address systemic racism—is made possible through one of the largest (anonymous) gifts in the institution’s history.

“This initiative will bring 10 new faculty members to RISD in fall 2021, launching a fundamental transformation toward diversifying and expanding our curricula.”President Rosanne Somerson

“We repeatedly heard from our community that the most definitive transformation we could make would be to increase the diversity of the scholarship of our faculty and thereby our pedagogy,” says President Rosanne Somerson. “This initiative will bring 10 new faculty members to RISD in fall 2021, launching a fundamental transformation toward diversifying and expanding our curricula. I want to acknowledge and thank the student-led RISD Anti-Racism Coalition (risdARC) and the group of BIPOC faculty who passionately led the efforts to instigate much-needed change at RISD, along with the generous anonymous donors who made this possible. This cluster hire initiative is a cornerstone effort of many major commitments underway to make substantive, meaningful and durable change at RISD.”

In an effort to hire multiple scholars based on shared, interdisciplinary research interests, RISD has posted all 10 openings simultaneously: four in the Liberal Arts and Experimental and Foundation Studies divisions, three in Architecture and Design and three in Fine Arts. Ideal candidates should be engaged in research-based creative practice and/or scholarship addressing the lives, experiences and cultural traditions of BIPOC communities and ready to lead cross-disciplinary dialogue in support of RISD’s Center for Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI).

“The cluster hire is a concrete and significant step forward for RISD... [and] the impetus behind a much larger and more durable initiative.”Associate Provost Matthew Shenoda

“The cluster hire is a concrete and significant step forward for RISD,” says Associate Provost for SEI Matthew Shenoda, “but I see it as the impetus behind a much larger and more durable initiative. Over the coming years, we’ll continue to focus on issues of racism and colonialism and how they intersect with other key issues like sustainability.”

Although the search committees intend to prioritize candidates whose scholarship, practice and pedagogies relate to the African American and African diasporas, Indigenous North American and Latinx communities, scholars focusing on any Indigenous or historically marginalized communities of color are encouraged to apply. The goal is to expand RISD’s pedagogy to address the systemic structures and power relations that continue to shape our society.

For more information, visit RISD Human Resources.

top photo (work by Justin Han BRDD 22 PT) by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH