RISD Museum Social Equity & Inclusion Work Plan

The RISD Museum is committed to working deliberately, consistently, and compassionately to confront racism and injustice in its many forms. We expect to be challenged and changed by where this collective and responsive work takes us.

Update, Fall 2022: 

The RISD Museum’s initial anti-racist work plan (now SEI Work Plan) was put down on paper in Fall of 2020 but had been an underlying effort, if not overtly stated, for many years prior. The written plan divides the efforts into three categories:

  • Confronting Ourselves Together: actionable goals pertaining to the collection, the staff, and audiences
  • From the Inside Out: staff-focused efforts surrounding training, actions, and accountability
  • At the Top: making sure the above-stated measures were supported by and reflected in  the museum’s leadership


Confronting Ourselves Together

What we’ve accomplished

  • Developed a working Land Acknowledgment
  • Reinstallation of Modern and Contemporary Galleries 
  • Database overhaul to more ethically share and narrate identities of artists and makers
  • Prioritization of social justice programming and implementation of fair compensation policy
  • Object repatriation
  • Prioritization of acquisitions by underrepresented makers*

What’s on the to-do list

  • Renovation and reinstallation of American galleries
  • NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act) compliance
  • Continue building and strengthening diverse community relationships
  • Prioritization of relationships with BIPOC business partners
  • Maintaining robust schedule of internal learning sessions
  • Ongoing visitor experience surveying


From the Inside Out

What we’ve accomplished

  • Anti-racism expectations and requirements developed for staff surrounding hiring, training, and performance

What’s on the to-do list

  • Ongoing support and expansion of the above as new staff join the museum team


At the Top  

What we’ve accomplished

  • Offered greater public transparency of museum’s governing bodies mission and roles (Board of Governors and Fine Arts Committee)
  • Sought and added new members to both groups to expand diversity
  • Established social equity and inclusion (SEI) working group on the board

What’s on the to-do list

  • Continue to diversify board leadership
  • Include regular anti-racism training and dialogue


*NOTE: On the limits of language: while the term underrepresented is imperfect, we use it in this document to refer to people who are historically and presently excluded from museums, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), ​LGBTQIA2S+​ people, people with disabilities, and women. We bring a lens of intersectionality to our anti-racist work.

Have we overlooked something important? Please send your feedback to arw-museum@risd.edu.

Other specific anti-racist museum actions

2021 Anti-Racist Action Plan

2020 Anti-Racist Action Plan