Skip to Main Content


September 12, 2019

How Can Academic Libraries and University Museums Effectively Collaborate?

Ithaka S+R is conducting a study on the relationship between academic libraries and campus museums, looking specifically at how they are governed and structured. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are in the process of inviting forty universities to participate, and over the Fall will interview the directors of both their museum and library in order to learn more about how these campus units operate in relation to the university and to one another.  …
July 10, 2019

Studying the Organizational Structure of the Art Museum

In recent years, American art museums have faced a complex set of institutional demands, from scrutiny over ethical issues concerning donor relations, to hiring practices and efforts towards making the museum more accessible to the public. At the same time, museums enjoy a high level of public trust at a time when most American institutions are actively mistrusted. The sector produces over 700,000 jobs, adding over $50 billion to the…
January 28, 2019

Museums Grow More Diverse, But Change is Uneven

Today we are pleased to announce the publication of the Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018. In partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ithaka S+R has conducted a study of the demographics of the art museum field. This report builds on findings from the  Art Museum Demographic Survey we conducted in 2015, showing that, while some meaningful progress has been made towards…
September 20, 2018

Improving Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Art Museums

New Report Synthesizes Findings from Eight Case Studies

Over the past year, Ithaka S+R and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have partnered in a major qualitative study of equity, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement in art museums. In this project, which was conducted through detailed case studies of eight art museums, we did not find a panacea. Our work, however, finds that these eight museums have followed an array of common strategies, and through ongoing hard work have made a meaningful…
August 23, 2018

Announcing the 2018 Demographic Survey of Art Museum Employees

In 2014, Ithaka S+R partnered with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) to study the representational diversity within art museums through quantitative means. Today, four years after the first study, we are undertaking a second cycle of the demographic survey, to measure what we hope will be positive change in the field. The initial demographic survey arose from a growing concern that cultural organizations are struggling…
June 8, 2018

Spelman College Museum and MCA Chicago

New Case Studies in Museum Diversity

In an ongoing effort to document the equity, diversity, and inclusion practices of art museums, Ithaka S+R, in partnership with the Mellon Foundation and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), has published two new case studies. At Fifty, Remodeling for Equity: MCA Chicago studies the operations, collections, programs and audience of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. This museum has undertaken creative strategies to partner board and staff in a horizontal committee intended to address issues of…
January 23, 2018

Making Strides towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Examples from Four Art Museums

Over the past three years, Ithaka S+R has conducted three wide-scale analyses of employee diversity in cultural organizations. These have included academic research libraries, the cultural sector in New York City, and American art museums. In all three studies, a common picture has emerged: staff in professional–and especially leadership–roles are more predominately white than is the population more broadly. But, as…
April 12, 2017

Forthcoming Case Studies of Eight Art Museums

This month we are very excited to begin qualitative research on inclusion, diversity, and equity issues in eight American art museums. This research builds on a previous study we undertook on behalf of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in consultation with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), which found that art museum employees were more racially homogeneous than the U.S. population, especially in professional roles.  Our current research, through the…
February 22, 2017

Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Art Museums

Learning from the Community

How diverse are America’s art museums? In terms of one measure—employee demographics—not very. A 2014 study, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and undertaken by Ithaka S+R in partnership with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), showed that the field is much more homogenous with respect to race and ethnicity than the nation as a whole. While these findings have…
January 31, 2017

Dataset for DCLA Diversity Survey Available at the National Archive of Data on Arts & Culture

In 2015, Ithaka S+R partnered with New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to conduct a survey to measure the demographics of the city’s cultural sector. The report of findings was published in January 2016, and is available on our website. Recently, the data used for this report has been made available in an anonymized form through a new national initiative toward archiving data in the arts. The survey of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs grantees…
June 28, 2016

With Support of Third Parties, Aiming for Impact in Diversity Research

Over the past two years, Ithaka S+R has had the opportunity to conduct several projects that study issues of equity, inclusion, and especially representative diversity, in the cultural and academic sectors. A recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education raised troubling questions about the diversity efforts at one major university, which it described as stuck in a “perpetual loop: Form a committee in reaction to a crisis, pledge to diversify the faculty,…
May 12, 2016

BRIC Gallery: An Inclusive Space for a Diverse Organization

Earlier this month, Ithaka S+R published a study on the Brooklyn-based arts and media organization, BRIC. We were excited to explore how some of BRIC’s community partnerships have influenced the atmosphere of its space, contributing to the organization’s presence as a leader on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in New York City’s cultural sector. BRIC’s gallery is a prominent feature of the organization’s new home, BRIC House. It doubles as both a performance space and a contemporary…
May 3, 2016

Taking a Closer Look at Diversity in New York City’s Dance Community

Since the release of “Diversity in the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Community” in January, there have been some continued efforts to further understand the survey findings and make them actionable. In March, the Theater Subdistrict Council announced a new diversity grant program intended to provide training for technical and production staff from diverse backgrounds. Meanwhile, Ithaka S+R has been engaged in a study of BRIC, a Brooklyn-based arts and media organization, with the aim of…
March 23, 2016

Library Acquisitions Pilot: Looking At The Data

In an earlier blog post we discussed a methodology we are testing to gauge whether a cross institutional analysis of library acquisitions may be possible in the future by leveraging next generation integrated library systems (ILS), which store libraries’ data in the cloud and, in some cases, allow for one member library to generate a report that can be run easily for any of their customers. In this post we share a dashboard (below) that shows how we could…
March 3, 2016

Analyzing Library Acquisitions

Vendors, Publishers and Integrated Library Systems

The landscape of academic library acquisitions has changed tremendously in recent years. Many libraries have faced significant pressure regarding their ability to purchase monographs for the humanities and social sciences. There has been substantial consolidation in the vendor community, with YBP and Coutts being purchased by EBSCO and ProQuest respectively. Some wonder if monographs and other books are experiencing a format transition, while substantial work has been underway to develop open access models for their publication. With this context and…
February 8, 2016

The Retraction Landscape: Notes from the NISO Webinar

On January 13th the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) held a webinar exploring the landscape of retractions in scholarly communications. The webinar featured three experts on the subject: Ivan Oransky from Retraction Watch, Veronique Kiermer from PLOS, and Kirsty Meddings from CrossRef. The three of them painted a picture of that landscape (like many of the painted landscapes that stay with us) that was thoroughly bleak, but ultimately hopeful. Oransky opened with a comical yet troubling prank…
November 2, 2015

The Consistency of Data

Data-driven decision making brings with it—for policy makers, advocates, businesses—the promise of objectivity. In some cases, this can instead be the illusion of infallibility. We don’t doubt our ability to make smart decisions with well-analyzed data, but what about the origins of that data? Over this year, Joseph Esposito, Roger Schonfeld and I have been conducting a research project studying the acquisitions of academic libraries, towards the end of better understanding various trends among vendors, publishers, disciplines and formats.