Bard Graduate Center exists to promote the study of decorative arts, design history, and material culture through research, teaching, exhibitions, events, and publications. BGC embraces diversity, equity, access, and inclusion as essential and necessary components of a learning community in which its students, faculty, staff, and visitors can engage with all facets of this mission. As an institution, Bard Graduate Center acknowledges that discrimination in social and educational systems based on race, gender, age, religion, class, differences in physical abilities and approaches to learning, ethnicity, national origin, and sexual orientation has limited the ability of some to fully participate in our organization and in our fields of study. To materialize our pledge to create a just and inclusive learning community, we commit to:
  • studying the impacts of systems of discrimination on our understanding of the fields of decorative arts, design history, and material culture;

  • including the voices, works, and ideas of communities and cultures historically marginalized in liberal arts education; and

  • creating policies, programs, and opportunities for BGC students, faculty, staff, and visitors that ensure that diversity, equity, access, and inclusion thrive.

The initiatives below represent BGC’s current efforts to improve diversity, equity, access, and inclusion throughout the institution, and this webpage represents our efforts to make our work in this arena more transparent.

DEAI Working Group and Updates
Members of BGC’s faculty and staff recommended the formation of a DEAI Working Group which launched in January of 2019. The Working Group’s members are drawn from all parts of the institution and there is an effort to ensure the membership reflects the diversity in the BGC community.

Currently, the Working Group is pursuing projects related to curriculum and study collection development, student experience, and community outreach. The group includes Jeffrey Collins (faculty), Julia Cullen (staff), Nishtha Dani (student), Nicholas de Godoy Lopes (student), Daniela Diaz Blancarte (student), Barb Elam (staff), Julie Fuller (staff), Andrew Kircher (staff), Cindy Kok (alumnus, MA ‘16), Deborah Krohn (faculty), RJ Maupin (student), Helen Polson (faculty), Mike Satalof (staff), Amanda Thompson (student), Abigail Walker (staff), Katrin Zimmermann (student).

You can read updates from the DEAI Working Group below or sign up for the BGC newsletter to receive them on a regular basis.

April 2023
February 2023
November 2022
April 2022
February 2022
October 2021
June 2021
February 2021
November 2020
Bard Graduate Center faculty members are actively working to ensure that diverse perspectives are represented in all courses, and especially in BGC’s core curriculum. In 2020, a new course, “Unsettling Things: Expanding Conversations in Studies of the Material World,” was introduced as a targeted response to the need for this broader representation, as a reflection of our community. According to the professors who developed the course, “Many current modes of scholarly thought, which are employed broadly across disciplines, emerged during the civil rights, social justice, and decolonization movements of the past half century. This course mobilizes recent and current efforts to expand academic perspectives as relevant to studies in decorative arts, design history, and material culture—three interdisciplinary fields that have long aimed to make the canon of traditional art history more inclusive.” The faculty continues to work with the DEAI Working Group’s curriculum team to develop additional course-based initiatives.
The Fields of the Future fellowship program aims to help promote diversity and inclusion in the advanced study of the material world. It prioritizes applicants from historically underrepresented groups, and/or projects of related thematic focus.
Land Acknowledgement
At Bard Graduate Center we study the material world, seeking knowledge about the past and striving for critical understanding of our present and presence here.

We respectfully acknowledge this place as Lenapehoking—the ancestral homeland of the Lenni-Lenape—and recognize New York City as a past, current, and future home for many Indigenous people.

Land acknowledgements honor customary Indigenous protocols for the thanking of hosts and call attention to ongoing realities of colonial dispossession. We also remember and honor the essential contributions of others who traveled to these lands against their free will.

Critically examining our placement in the historical fabric of New York City is part of our effort to work toward more equitable futures.

Adopted by the Bard Graduate Center faculty in October 2020