Professor Endi Poskovic, Stamps DEI Liaison for Inclusive Teaching during 2019 – 2020 and 2020 – 2021 academic years, applauds the project. Poskovic also happens to teach printmaking and shares that he himself has had to, unfortunately, decline recent invitations to be a keynote speaker at the same annual conference. With this background, he carries an insider view of the value of participating and the impact such initiatives can have on fostering DEI.
“Having a grant that can create opportunities for a bunch of diverse students to do something like present at a major, peer-reviewed conference is truly great,” he says. “They get their feet wet and learn how to engage in a larger world and become more inspired to do great things.”
For Schmidt, that was exactly the case.
“These opportunities are invaluable to Stamps students,” she says. “The project helped us develop professionally, make new connections, and learn more than we could inside the walls of school.”
Fostering Change and Connection
Today, all four of the funded teams are celebrating their journeys. Clegg counts herself fortunate that she is on a second project called the Artist Database Project. Like the Solid States project, this effort was already underway when the new grant scheme was announced. Alongside two other project leaders —Erin McKenna, lecturer and Stamps alum (MFA ‘20) and Stamps alum Rey Jeong (MFA ‘21) — Clegg continues to work diligently to create a pilot for a community-run database that catalogues content, such as BIPOC artists and artwork examples, for assignment and lecture development. Currently, the team is still rolling out the project and adding to the growing database. Also in the works is a forum to connect both established and emerging art and design instructors with these resources, and with each other.
Clegg explains that early career instructors in art and design — like herself — have the desire to improve and contribute to their classes through antiracism and decolonizing work. However, they face the shortages of centralized resources, time, and peer-based support.
“We recognized the need to build a practical tool that is evergreen, open source and specifically supports early career educators in bringing more equity and inclusion into building their courses right at the beginning,” she says. “The grant is helping us shake things up and break traditions in ways that lead to better course content that is richer, and fuller, and also reflects back to our diverse student body.”
For Stamps Gallery Director Srimoyee Mitra, the grant that her team received for their project Real and Imagined: Fabric Works and Animations was a vital seed that has been crucial toward growing an important goal.