Global Institute Designed by Black Women to Launch at ArtCenter in Pasadena, Calif.
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Global Institute Designed by Black Women to Launch at ArtCenter in Pasadena, Calif.

(Image: iStock / Nattakorn Maneerat)

There’s no better representative for Black girls than Black girls themselves.

ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California launched The Global Institute for Black Girls in Film and Media. The research collective will approach the representation of Black girls in film, television, and other media platforms, honoring their experiences on and off the screen. The Institute is designed for young scholars in visual storytelling with a focus on three pillars: professional development and executive education; research and decoding; and youth empowerment and community engagement.

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Aaron Bruce said, “To nurture this kind of scholarly behavior work at an institution like ArtCenter is an important part of equipping our students with the skills to tell authentic Black stories in media,” according to Pasadena Now.

“We believe the Institute will have a ripple effect across our campus community, through the entertainment industry, and hope that this group can inspire more scholarship of this kind at other art and design schools globally,” he continued.

The focus on centering Black girls across media platforms, audiences, and industry professionalization is at the forefront of the institution, with an emphasis on reframing and reinforcing the narrative of Black girlhood. According to a statement, the Institute is committed to tracing the origins and trajectories of Black girlhood by examining existing notions. The statement read, “New possibilities will be imagined for how to engage with narratives of Black girlhood in cinema, advertising, and media.”

To pursue these commitments, the Institute is invested in effectively engaging with local, regional, national, and international organizations to enforce educational excellence in media and promoting an accurate understanding of the representations of Black women in coursework.

An invitation from the ArtCenter in 2021 for Dr. Lisa Covington to give a presentation on her research on Black girls in film contributed to the origin of the Institute. Called upon by the Center for Diversity Equity and Inclusion at the ArtCenter, the Founding Advisory Board for the Institute has been formed by filmmaker and alumna, Elizabeth Gray Bayne.

A series of free public discussions by the Institute is in progress.


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