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Rhode Island School of Design

RISD Archives COVID-19 Documentation Page

Information on the RISD Archives' goal to collect material and stories for diversified documentation of RISD's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Documentation Goals

In addition to gathering RISD records such as official communications, newsletter, websites, and recordings of online community meetings, the RISD Archives wishes to gather personal accounts, images, and artifacts from members of the RISD community so as to have a more diverse record documenting RISD's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Personal documentation may include stories, images, videos, websites, and other social media sites, as well as class assignments and work created after the evacuation of the RISD campus and the move to remote, online learning. 

We expect to have additional links in the coming days for gathering:

  • Zoom recordings of webinars and class critiques and presentations
  • a questionnaire seeking personal pandemic stories
  • an invitation to participate in recording oral history interviews of pandemic experiences
  • links for submitting digital documentation
  • a call for the donation of physical materials to add to the Archives such as COVID-19 journals and sketchbooks.

RISD Archives COVID-19 Community Questionnaire

RISD Archives COVID-19 Documentation Project

Community Questionnaire


This has been a particularly difficult year for RISD, and the entire world, as we have faced a major threat to our personal and communal health and experienced major disruptions to our usual ways of working and living. In keeping with its mission to document the history of the institution, the RISD Archives is collecting and recording RISD’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic so that future researchers may have a better understanding of this historical moment through access to contemporary, first-hand accounts from the RISD community alongside the “official,” administrative record. We are interested in knowing both the positive andnegative aspects of the pandemic and the ways it has affected you and your work, and we hope to document various ways in which individuals and groups have been able to embrace and adapt the RISD ethos at this moment.  

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any we have previously known, this type of disruption to RISD and its classes is not unprecedented. In 1944, as World War II headed toward resolution, RISD held regular faculty and "Provost" meetings and discussions for post-war planning and the return to normal. Along with examining educational models such as guilds and apprenticeships, ateliers, academies, universities, liberal arts colleges, engineering schools, the Bauhaus (old and new), Black Mountain College, Bennington, University of Chicago, and the New School,  faculty researched new industrial materials, methods, and experiments relating to wartime production. Faculty and administrators were aware that they were entering a changed world, and that RISD's relevance was measured by its ability to adapt and to lead in that world.

Spring 2020 happens to mark the 50th anniversary of the suspension of RISD classes for the final month of the semester in 1970, as RISD was one among many colleges throughout the country that was shut down by student and faculty strikes protesting the U.S. expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and the death of 4 anti-war demonstrators, shot and killed by Ohio National Guard troops at Kent State University. RISD’s administration decided that students could accept their grade earned up to that point in the shortened semester, or take an incomplete and hand in their work for a final grade by the start of the next academic year. The year-end Commencement ceremony took place as previously scheduled, but the students started entirely new traditions, having an outdoor ceremony and reception on the Woods-Gerry grounds, foregoing traditional caps and gowns, and creating a Design Diploma as their own alternative to the School’s formal, calligraphy diploma.


The following questionnaire is one of several means by which the Archives is gathering personal accounts for a diverse documentary record. It is intended to fuel future research and content generated through research. Please respond to those questions that seem relevant to you and your experiences—either briefly or in depth. While we realize that some of us may not be ready to consider these topics and questions right now, please know that your stories matter, so please share as much as you can. We will be collecting responses throughout the summer. You have the option to remain anonymous if you prefer. 


Thank you,


Andrew Martinez, Archivist

Douglas Doe, Digital Archivist


Link to questionnaire:

Recording and Saving Zoom Meetings and Presentations

We do need consent from you and your students to record crits.

To gain this, please state at the beginning of the crit that it's being recorded and that the recording will be used only for the Archives' documentation purposes (see COVID-19 Documentation Goals statement above).  Anyone who wishes not to be recorded should clearly state their name and their preference to not be recorded.  Faculty should be sure to keep that part of the recording with the rest.  The Archives will later edit and remove the segments of those students who have stated their preference to not be included in the archival record.


Instructions for Recording Zoom Meetings

         (Adapted from Indiana University instructions)

  1. Sign into
  2. Your account should be set up for recording to the cloud. You can check your settings here:
  3. Start the Zoom meeting room as the host.
  4. Click “Record”. If there is a menu, choose “Record to the Cloud”. You can save the recording to your computer by clicking “Record on this Computer”.
  5. If a student declines to be recorded, you can pause the recording by clicking “Pause”. Click “Resume Recording” for the next student.
  6. When finished, click “Stop Recording”. The recording will stop automatically when you leave the meeting.
  7. Zoom will record the meeting as a raw Zoom file and the chat as a text file. The Zoom file should convert automatically to a .Mp4 file. All of the files will be saved in one folder.
  8. For more detailed constructions, see the Zoom help page at: The Zoom application provides the following guidelines for recording Zoom sessions:
  9. If you record a Zoom meeting for the Archives, please contact the Digital Archivist, Douglas Doe, to transfer the file to the Archives.

RISD Archives Mission Statement


The Rhode Island School of Design Archives


The mission of the Rhode Island School of Design Archives and Records Management Program is to collect, preserve, and provide access to records and artifacts which document the history and development of RISD programs, policies, and procedures as well as the contributions of individuals and organizations associated with the School and Museum. By fulfilling this mission, the Archives maintains a unique and valuable resource for understanding and appreciating the significant role that RISD has played in teaching and advancing the disciplines of art, design, and art education--regionally, nationally, and worldwide--since its founding in 1877. 

The Archives is authorized by the President to:

·      survey the records created in support of the administrative and academic functions of the School and the Museum

·      determine the long-term historical, legal, administrative, and research value of these records

·      provide guidelines for their efficient management and ultimate retention or disposition

·      organize, describe, and preserve records deemed to have permanent value

·      make these records available for the research and information needs of the faculty and the administrative and curatorial staff of the School and Museum, as well as scholars and researchers.

All records, regardless of format, created and received in the course of official School and Museum business are the property of the Rhode Island School of Design.* Records which are no longer used on a regular basis by the office or staff member who created them are considered inactive and should be transferred to the Archives. RISD policy does not permit the unauthorized destruction, donation, removal, or dispersal of School and Museum records.

Among the different types of materials considered official RISD records are: correspondence, memoranda, manuscripts, meeting minutes, reports, grant records, registrar records, personnel, student, and alumni records, course syllabi, records of student organizations, electronic records, photographs, negatives, audio and video tapes, film, architectural drawings, blueprints, scrapbooks, artifacts, and all publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed in the name of RISD.

The Archives also collects personal papers of individuals and records of organizations that were not created as part of the official business of the Rhode Island School of Design, provided these materials:

·      pertain to the history of the School or Museum

·      are relevant to the Museum collections

·      support the RISD curriculum

·      can be properly stored, processed, and made available for research.

Retention schedules for the records of each RISD department will be created and published by the Archives as a component of RISD’s records management policies. It is expected that these guidelines will be followed for the regular transfer of material to the Archives and the proper disposal of nonpermanent records. The retention period for records is determined by their historical, legal, administrative, and research value.

Access to certain documents may be restricted by statute or by the office of origin/donor, with the Archivist’s approval. Any restrictions regarding access to documents or collections in the Archives will be put in writing at the time of transfer. The Archives reserves the right to refuse, transfer, or dispose of records that do not fall within the scope of its collecting mission as well as materials that cannot be cared for properly.

The Archives, established in 1997, is part of the Library, under the supervision of the Director of Library Services. The Archivist and Digital Archivist make up the Archives staff. 

The Archives has a responsibility to RISD’s records and their creators and maintains a professional commitment to the principle of confidentiality and a respect for the individual’s right to privacy. The Archives collections are maintained in a secure and stable environment and are used under the direct supervision of the Archives staff. Any questions regarding the importance of records or Archives policies should be directed to the Archivist.


*Some documents accumulated by employees do not qualify as RISD records; these may be considered personal papers, and therefore private property, if they relate solely to an individual’s personal affairs or personal research and do not affect the conduct of School or Museum business.

Douglas Doe

Douglas Doe

Digital Archivist | 401 709-5922