The Room of Silence
"I've never been in a place where I've been more confused about race in my entire life."
My senior year at RISD, I collaborated with the student group Black Artists and Designers (B.A.A.D.) to document the difficulties faced by students of color at predominantly white art schools.
We released “The Room of Silence” to the community on social media. It went viral in a matter of minutes, raising support for a rally scheduled two days later (”Not Your Token”), and attracting the attention of local newspapers. In response, the administration established a committee to reform marginalization on campus. It began a dialogue about race where previously there had only been frustrating silence.
Since then, the video has been screened at universities around the world in order to start the same conversations, including SAIC, University of the Arts London, MICA, and MassArt. It has shown at national conferences on art and pedagogy, most recently the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Convening of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in November 2018, where the film was seen by faculty, admin and students from across 30 schools.
While I was responsible for shooting and cutting “The Room of Silence,” this project was fundamentally a collaboration. None of this would have been possible without the important contributions of Utē Petit, Chantal Feitosa, and Daa Guy. Certain project members have specifically asked to no longer be contacted about the film, so we will only pass on their information with their consent.
Contact me if you would like to arrange a screening. In the spirit of the original project, use of the video for screenings and discussions is completely free of charge. You may post it to any platform as long as you share attribution and let me know that you are doing so. I also request that you forward any documentation or press materials that come out of the screening.