posted by CAA — Nov 30, 2017
The College Art Association strategically invests in its future with Professional Development Fellowships. I received a College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship when I was a graduate student and immigrant in the United States with permanent resident status. This award provided critical resources that contributed to my securing a tenure-track position at a research institution. Twenty-years later, I am a naturalized and tenured African-American design scholar with distinction. This achievement is one that I do not take for granted. I give back to the College Art Association through service.
The College Art Association’s mission includes culturally diversifying its membership and intellectual capital. I have experience dealing with the challenges associated with this critical task: as a Black youth from a low-income community who fell in love with art; as a minority, junior professor with a Master of Fine Arts pursuing tenure at a research institution; and now as a scholar and administrator confronted by ‘wicked’ barriers to inclusion that include the perennial, melee between socio-economic factors and institutional bureaucracy.
One way that the College Art Association confronts barriers to inclusion is by collaborating with its Affiliated Societies to pave a path through a massive, digital, network of texts and images from different cultures. With this approach, the critical and creative undergirding of the organization’s intellectual capital has the potential to diversify slowly but steadily. I aim to propel diversification efforts forward with strategies that broaden the organization’s intellectual reservoir with new knowledge about culture gleaned from interdisciplinary, positivist, and empirical methods.
A second way that the College Art Association confronts barriers to inclusion is by using technology to transcend socio-economic challenges with professional-development webinars. A decade ago, I competitively secured funding from the AIGA to deliver a virtual design conference titled Global Interaction in Design Education that disseminated new knowledge generated by graphic design scholars from around the world including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. The question I have now is: Can we secure funding to develop a robust technological infrastructure within the College Art Association that supports the scholarly dissemination of creative work and research findings?
A third way that the College Art Association confronts barriers to inclusion is by cultivating the involvement of designers—an intellectually underrepresented community in the organization’s membership. I can recall early in my academic career gravitating away from the annual College Art Association conferences due to a perceived exiguous representation of designers. Today, I am a member of the College Art Association’s Inaugural Committee on Design where I help to develop design content for its annual conference and publications and integrate design language and issues into the organizations’ internal and external communication processes.
I am eager to continue service to the College Art Association through leadership on its Board of Directors. If elected, I plan to further cultivate and sustain cultural and intellectual diversity within the organization’s membership and operating activities to increase individual and institutional memberships and conference participation.