Equity, diversity, and inclusivity are of paramount importance to our department.
The urgent need for action has come into the sharpest focus in the past year, with Black Lives Matter not just galvanizing but radically transforming existing calls to action; following the murder of George Floyd, continued police brutality against racialized communities, appalling acts of anti-Asian racism, and the grim discovery of the burials of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, we resolve ever more strongly to promote and enact EDI principles. The Tri-Campus Graduate Department of Art History has engaged in intensive discussions over the past year through an EDI forum we established last summer. We have sought to confront the nature of systemic racism and exclusion in universities and in the field of Art History at large. As a discipline predicated on a Western canon, art history has recognized the need to diversify through calls for a global or world art history. Yet, the field has a long way to go. It is not just about the areas selected for study but who is empowered to study them. There are many voices unheard and groups that are underrepresented.
We draw on a range of university resources and initiatives across the university: the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office operating since 2005; the Toronto Initiative for Diversity and Excellence (TIDE) set up in 2016 as a grassroots group of U of T faculty; 2017's Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, which reported in March 2021, with its 56 recommendations to further Black inclusion and excellence at the university all accepted by the administration.
We resolve to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in our department and the discipline through the following actions:
Departmental Culture and Training Initiatives
- Institute unconscious bias training for all departmental officers, staff, and graduate students who sit on departmental committees
- Minimize obstacles to full participation in the departmental community by continuing ongoing conversation and reflection through the EDI forum
- Review a potential appointment of a dedicated EDI officer in the department, and the mandate of such a role
Research and Outreach Initiatives
- Develop practices for highlighting EDI considerations in faculty research
- Prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion in hiring practices and faculty searches
- Widen representation of marginalized voices and substantively diversify the department's academic programming, including within our various speaker series
- Seek support from potential donors in our alumni community and beyond to support our EDI initiatives, with a priority for research and experiential student scholarships
Undergraduate and Graduate (Teaching and Learning) Initiatives
- Review the undergraduate (St. George) and graduate (Tri-Campus) curriculum to ensure diversity in our range of course offerings, expand the curriculum and degree tracks where appropriate, and seek to promote diversity and inclusion in reading lists for all courses
- Consult with undergraduate students, graduate students, graduate teaching assistants, and course instructors in order to identify areas for development in curriculum and course design
- Implement measures to reduce the barriers to underrepresented groups among our student cohort, including student scholarships
- Support student-led initiatives—notably those originating with the History of Art Students' Association (HASA) and the Graduate Union of Students of Art (GUStA), such as the anti-racism reading group, anti-oppression training, and bibliographic resource development
Office of the Chair