Board diversity is not enough

Patricia A. Banks is a sociologist whose research focuses on the intersection of culture, consumption and markets.

By Keely Sexton

Across the world, Black trustees of museums have joined forces in an effort to create more diverse boards in order to increase inclusion of Black voices and artists. 

But diversifying the boards that oversee museums is not enough, wrote Patricia A. Banks, professor of sociology at Mount Holyoke College, in a letter to the editor published by The New York Times. 

Banks, whose books include “Diversity and Philanthropy at African American Museums,” was recently appointed as co-editor in chief of Poetics, a journal for empirical research on culture, media and the arts.  

Her own research showed, Banks noted, that Black supporters of museums did so “not only because of their focus on African-American artists, but also because of their outreach to African-American audiences and employment of a diverse staff.”

Therefore, she said, efforts to diversify museums must be done holistically to resonate with diverse patrons. 

“Museums that want to increase board diversity will need to take a hard look at the diversity of their institutions as a whole,” Banks wrote.

You can read the full letter to the editor.

Related News

Katherine C. (KC) Haydon

A focus on community from a distance

Mount Holyoke’s KC Haydon flipped her classroom to make discussion and building  community among her students the focus of her course.

Archival photograph of Mignon Talbot, who taught geology and geography at Mount Holyoke from 1904 to her retirement in 1935.

A chance fossil find leads to fame

The Podokesaurus holyokesis, which was discovered by late Mount Holyoke professor Mignon Talbot, is proposed as  the state dinosaur of Massachusetts.

Katie Berry

Katie Berry receives major early-career award

Katie Berry has won the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award for her research program, which engages undergraduates in research on biochemical processes.

The gates leading into the Mount Holyoke campus.

Top 12 stories of 2020

The Mount Holyoke College stories you read the most this year — one more time.  

Much Ado About Nothing

The show must go on

Mount Holyoke’s Department of Film, Media, Theater is continually adapting to overcome the challenges of COVID-19.

Find more stories >