Inclusion & Diversity
It is important to me that I keep a positive and inclusive studio space for students. I start by creating a community-oriented classroom, where all students feel like they have ownership of the space and course content, as well as a valued role in the class. Students are expected to clean up after themselves and be responsible for the proper use of the tools, materials, and studio space. They are also expected to identify when other students need assistance in doing the same and lend a helping hand. In addition, students are encouraged to ask their peers for feedback outside of organized critiques, draw inspiration from one another, move about the classroom to visually connect with process and technique, and join in constructive conversation during class. Headphones, cell phones, and computer use are not allowed during studio workdays to help facilitate this interaction. The implementation of prompts and instructor-guided discourse are also conducive to creating this environment.
All of this sets the framework for a group that feels connected to one another and the space in which they work, generating a sense of belonging, security, and openness to learning, collaboration, and free expression. With this foundation, students are also more receptive to concepts that are outside of their comfort zone. In my lectures and instruction, I am sure to include artists from underrepresented groups, artists who differ culturally and ethnically from the majority student population, and address artworks that focus on present-day issues, all while giving students a historical and contemporary context into which these concepts fit. Students are also given research and writing assignments to promote self-guided exploration of diverse artists, artworks, and ideas. Through in-class presentations, students share their research and personal analysis with their peers, fostering student-led discussion.
My own actions both inside and outside of the classroom serve to reinforce inclusivity. When engaging with students and colleagues I use people first and positive language, pursuing constructive and honest communication, as well as meaningful relationships. I also work diligently to provide unbiased instruction and evaluation, accommodate diverse needs by working one-on-one with students, and offer information in multiple formats to appeal to different learning styles. Outside of the classroom I collaborate through national and international conferences and build lasting connections with people of different backgrounds, strengthening and broadening my own global perspective. Some of my artwork also explores gender roles, stereotypes, and double standards, requiring my conceptual research to stay current and delve into varied cultural and societal topics. I am able to bring these artistic investigations and shared encounters back into the classroom to further enrich my instruction and the educational experiences of my students.