Sharing report from Ad Hoc Committee on Arts, Culture, and DEI

December 20, 2022
Cynthia Barnhart, Provost |

To the members of the MIT community,

In the summer of 2020, President Reif outlined a number of steps the Institute would take to address the lasting legacy of racism. Writing that, “Music, visual art, poetry, storytelling and performance have the power to help reveal our history, heal old wounds, deepen understanding, lift our hearts, call us to action and sustain the momentum for progress,” he called for the appointment of an Institute-wide committee to recommend artistic and cultural responses to affirm and inspire our community while strengthening the climate of racial equity and inclusion at MIT.

Co-chaired by Institute Community and Equity Officer John Dozier and Associate Provost Philip Khoury, the Ad Hoc Committee on Arts, Culture, and DEI submitted a report earlier this year. As you can see here, it makes several recommendations, some immediate and some longer term.

These include:

  • Creating and sustaining an arts festival
  • Increasing support for student groups in the performing and visual arts
  • Diversifying MIT’s public art collection
  • Creating a DEIA (“A” for accessibility) tour of the MIT campus
  • Evaluating the legacy of MIT’s third president, Francis Amasa Walker, and the building named in his honor (Building 50)

To translate this vision into action, I’m announcing today the creation of a DEI Arts and Culture Implementation Committee. Philip and John will again serve as co-chairs, leading and coordinating the efforts of four working groups: the Arts Festival Working Group, the Campus Tour Working Group, the Public Art Collection Working Group, and the Student Arts Groups Working Group.

Work to create an MIT arts festival has already begun, and efforts to diversify the Institute's public art collection are also underway. Efforts to advance the Walker study are progressing on a separate path with the guidance of John Dozier and Professor Craig Wilder. For more information about the implementation committee’s work, you may reach the committee directly at

I close by expressing appreciation to all the members of the ad hoc committee for their thoughtful assessment and creative thinking, and to everyone who has agreed to serve on the implementation committee to follow through on the next phase of this important work. I am especially grateful to John and Philip for their leadership and ongoing service to our community.


Cynthia Barnhart