Equity and Inclusion
In order to create a more racially just RISD, we must be proactively anti-racist in principle and practice, and make consequential, scaled changes throughout the institution.
The pages in this section make up a record of accountability to commitments announced on July 15, 2020 by then-President Rosanne Somerson. These commitments build upon our 2017 Social Equity and Inclusion Plan.
Highlights include: Developed formal policies to support students facing economic hardship. Repatriated Head of a King (Oba). Continued to increase racial diversity among incoming students. Intentionally bolstered commitment to equity and inclusion through development of institutional leadership team.
Highlights include: Held RISD’s inaugural Black Biennial exhibition. Increased support for first-generation-to-college students. Established the Equity and Compliance office to better address discrimination, bias and gender equity across the institution.
Highlights include: Increased diverse faculty and staff hiring. Launched the “Race in Art & Design” faculty cluster hire initiative. Established formal Board of Trustees committee focused on social equity and inclusion. Finalized a land acknowledgement for institution-wide use.
Highlights include: Student activism spurs major steps toward an equitable, inclusive RISD. A Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI) Action Plan lays out our commitment to SEI principles. RISD launches the Center for SEI, which leads initiatives that foster diversity, equity and inclusion within and beyond the institution.
Increasing student diversity
Key among our commitments to equity and inclusion is to increase access among historically underrepresented groups to a RISD education and to continually cultivate a diverse student community. Each year there are gains to be made and work to do, and progress upon which we will track here.
Student financial aid, 2022–23
total first-year total student diversity, 2022–23
total first-year students from historically underrepresented groups
total incoming graduate student diversity
total graduate students from historically underrepresented groups
The Center for Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI)
The Center for SEI supports RISD initiatives that engage and address social equity and inclusion issues on campus. We also serve as a central hub for cross-institutional collaboration for faculty-centered initiatives.
Read more about ongoing initiatives and the people who are advancing social equity and inclusion at RISD and beyond.
Undergraduate students Pei-Yu Hung and Andres Guevara organize a wide-ranging storytelling series for a Collaborative Study Project focused on Indigenous oral traditions.
A brief interview with one of RISD’s Schiller Family Assistant Professors in Race in Art and Design.
The second-year teaching and research fellow shows students how the built environment can shed light on issues of race, class, gender and more.
RISD’s 11th annual MLK Series keynote speaker addresses public art and the importance of creating space for Black artists.
SEI Teaching and Research Fellow Zoé Samudzi explores images of violence and death and how humanitarian photography may or may not influence the viewer’s behavior.
The latest speaker in RISD’s Indigenous and First Nations Artist Series discusses her own abstract work honoring generations of strong Indigenous women.
SEI Research Fellow Nichole Rustin engages RISD students in contemporary political questions and develops their skills as liberal arts scholars.
A SPUR-funded project by grad student Zoë Pulley presents positive images of Black people to counteract the negative imagery flooding the media.
Get to know RISD
See how our current creative practices respond to the critical social, political and environmental challenges we face today.
Learn more about President Crystal Williams and the RISD leaders who steward our mission and strategic plan.