Oral Histories: Talia Skyles, 2019


Talia Skyles

BFA Painting ‘21

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What’s it like to be black at MICA?

I've found that being black at MICA reminds me a lot of my experiences attending a predominately white high school. It's not uncommon that I find myself being one of only two or three black people in a class of predominately white students and with a white professor. This situation is something that I have gotten used to throughout my educational career, although it does still make me feel self-conscious at times. I would love to one day be taught by someone of color so that I can clearly see myself in the role of an educator. All my teachers at MICA so far have been encouraging, constructive, and stimulating, but I have noticed that they were all white. I've been told that there are wonderful black professors here at MICA and I'm going to try to take classes with them in my future semesters. 

However, I'm happy to say that my work at MICA has been critiqued just like everyone else's and I have thankfully not personally experienced cultural appropriation issues while attending school. I think it's important that MICA continues to consider diversity and inclusion when hiring and retaining faculty and also when accepting and recruiting students. Both studio and academic classes are enriched when a variety of perspectives are represented.