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:
RISD Archives COVID-19 Documentation Project
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 and negative 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.
Andrew Martinez, Archivist
Douglas Doe, Digital Archivist
Link to questionnaire here.
We do need consent from you and your students to record crits.
Instructions for Recording Zoom Meetings
(Adapted from Indiana University instructions)
The RICovidArchive.org is a public archive created in response to COVID-19 and subsequently expanded to address the uprising and protests against racial injustice and police brutality. It was created through a joint effort of the Rhode Island Historical Society and Providence Public Library. The project has two goals: