AICAD Statement of Principles on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Adopted June 4, 2019


AICAD and its member institutions acknowledge that structural, systemic, historical, and intersecting forms of oppression require our ongoing attention, action, innovation, and leadership for positive change. Therefore, we have crafted this statement of principles on diversity, equity and inclusion to guide our ongoing work both individually and collectively. We recognize that particular areas of focus within this work will vary from institution to institution, based on both regional differences and institution-specific histories. We also view this statement as a living document, requiring regular review and evolution.


AICAD member institutions believe that contemporary art and design education, thinking and making requires the full embrace of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are committed to providing learning environments and communities within which all can succeed. Given our specialized focus, we recognize that excellence embraces a range of aesthetic sensibilities and artistic motivations as well as, and often intertwined with, the dimensions of diversity listed in the adopted definitions below. Along with our students, faculty, staff, and boards, we strive to continually develop in order to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and global society. We understand that institutional practices and education rooted in the strengths of diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental.

Diversity is the range of human differences and means that each individual is equally worthwhile. Not merely acknowledging the existence of differences, it celebrates these differences and recognizes the essential value of diversity in a system. Dimensions of diversity generally cover but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic class, physical or cognitive disability, religious or ethical values system, national origin, citizenship, political beliefs, and other ideologies.

Equity is the equal distribution of a system’s benefits and burdens regardless of its members’ differences. In other words, equity would be a reality in which an individual or groups are no more or less likely to experience a system’s benefits or burdens just because of their differences, creating an environment where everyone can succeed and thrive. In our not yet perfect world, a commitment to equity requires the will and action of a system to redistribute opportunities and power.

Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive system promotes and sustains a sense of belonging. It values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members. An inclusive system also recognizes that agreement might not always be the end result, but that dialogue and understanding are part of the larger process that allows for inclusivity to be achieved.