Voices from the Arts at MIT

Voices from the arts raised in a call to action against racial violence, inequality, and injustice, and in support of Black Lives Matter.  

We are drawing together contributions from our community so that we may intensify ongoing efforts and learn from one another.  We welcome suggestions of resources, thoughts, actions, and artwork to share here on this non-exhaustive list.

As President Reif said to the MIT community, “On the subject of institutional racism and systemic injustice, this is a moment of reckoning for our nation, and we continue to have serious work to do at MIT.”  

MIT & Black Public Media Fellowship Awarded

Spring 2021

Black Public Media (BPM) and Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) have chosen artist and filmmaker Fabiano Mixo as the second recipient of their MIT & Black Public Media Fellowship, hosted by MIT Open Documentary Lab and
sponsored by MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST). Filmmaker Carla LynDale Bishop was the inaugural recipient of the fellowship last October.

Public Guest Lectures: Black Mobility and Safety in the US

Spring 2021

Ekene Ijeoma’s Black Mobility and Safety in the US course this fall includes a series of public guest lectures co-sponsored by ACT around living while Black. The first semester’s topics will include birthing, breathing, sleeping, eating, and walking while Black; the second semester will include learning, voting, driving, working, and loving while Black.

MIT CAST’s It Must Be Now! 

Spring 2022

Under the auspices of CAST’s MIT Sounding series, It Must Be Now! (IMBN!), led by Fred Harris, brings together three leading musicians (Terri Lyne Carrington, Braxton Cook, and Sean Jones) to collectively compose a large-scale work for MIT musicians on the overall theme of racial justice. Collaborating with multimedia artists, MIT students and community members, and others beyond MIT, this two-year project seeks to address racial and social injustices and their confluences. IMBN! explores institutional racism; environmental, economic, and health injustices; police brutality; and abolitionism.

Coded Bias, a documentary by Media Lab doctoral candidate Joy Buolamwini

Recorded June 12, 2020

View the premiere of a Coded Bias, a documentary that sheds light on the threats A.I. poses to civil rights and democracy. 

MIT Community Vigil

Recorded Tuesday, June 2, 2020

“We come together now because we know, and we insist, that black lives matter. That black lives are worthy and complex and inspiring. That every black person is unique and beautifully human, and that every black person of every age, everywhere, deserves dignity and decency and respect.”

MIT Libraries: Racial Justice and Anti-racist Resources

Books and films available remotely to the MIT community

The MIT Libraries and the MIT Press stand with Black Lives Matter and all who protest against systemic and recurring acts of violence against Black people. This guide is by no means exhaustive and is limited to items that the MIT Libraries are able to provide remote access to for the MIT Community.

Chimeria: Gatekeeper

Created by D. Fox Harrell, Professor of Digital Media and Artificial Intelligence, Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W) and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), MIT; Director, Center for Advanced Virtuality, MIT

Gatekeeper is an online game that models a common role-playing-game scenario—a player trying to gain access to a castle. While this fantasy scenario may seem far removed from physical-world experiences, it is a useful metaphor for getting past the many gatekeepers encountered in real life—for example by managing the impression one gives others when faced with sexism and racism on the job.

Passage Home VR

Created by Danielle Olson, Doctoral Candidate, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), MIT

Passage Home VR is an interactive, virtual-reality, narrative game that simulates various coping strategies employed by individuals when encountering racial discrimination. The game seeks to meaningfully engage players from a wide range of identity backgrounds in transformational virtual experiences.

Understanding Systemic Racism

Free downloads from MIT Press through August 31, 2020

Articles selected by the journals’ editorial offices as works that offer valuable perspectives on various aspects of systemic racism and racial violence. For real change to occur, it is essential to consult the corpus of evidence-based scholarship on race, history, and public policy to help chart a path toward an anti-racist future.

Unpacking Misconceptions about Language & Identities with Professor Michel DeGraff

Chalk Radio Podcast, MIT OpenCourseWare

In this episode, Professor Michel DeGraff discusses his goal to make linguistics accessible to a broader audience, to connect language to issues of culture and identity, and to show how language prejudices are rooted in hierarchies of power.

Resources for Advancing Racial Equity and Social Justice

MIT SHASS via Twitter

“It’s a unique time to be a black director,” says MIT theater director Charlotte Brathwaite, noting that she has been inspired by James Baldwin. “He says, ‘If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you do not see.’ “

MIT and the Legacy of Slavery

An ongoing research project

“MIT and Slavery” is an undergraduate research course on the founding and development of the Institute first offered in the Fall of 2017. Among other discoveries, findings offer insights about the role of MIT in the post-Civil War era of Reconstruction; reveal examples of racism in the culture of the early campus; and uncover the fact that MIT’s founder, William Barton Rogers, owned six enslaved people in Virginia, before he moved to Massachusetts in 1853.

MIT Architecture via Twitter

Architecture and Advocacy Podcast

Remembering Robert Traynham Coles MArch ’55, longtime architect, advocate, and alum who passed away at the age of 90 in Buffalo, New York in May 2020. Coles was an outspoken critic of his own profession, charging it to do more for both women and minorities.

Anti-Racism Resources

Collected by the MIT Department of Architecture

This non-exhaustive list features resources and readings which will hopefully be particularly helpful to architects, designers, and community members.

Black History Project

An ongoing collaborative research effort

The MIT Black History Project has archived over 3,000 pieces of history related to the black experience at the Institute dating back to the 1870s.

Stream_l__i___n____e_____s (after Robert Lawrence)

Created by Matthew Schumaker, Project Lead and Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar, Music and Theater Arts, MIT

Stream_l__i___n____e_____s (after Robert Lawrence) is a work for clarinet and real-time computer accompaniment composed by Matthew Schumaker as an homage to the pilot Robert Henry Lawrence. In 1967, Lawrence was the first African-American selected for a space program.

MIT Program in Art, Culture & Technology Resources

Compilation of resources to eliminate racism

Opportunities for self-education via historic, sociological, and literary resources as well as practical ways to support racial justice in Boston and beyond.