Director – Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI


Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) seeks an experienced, creative, and collaborative individual to serve as its next museum director. The institutional ambitions around social equity and inclusion are core elements of the museum; the RISD Museum is committed to working deliberately, consistently, and compassionately to confront racism and other injustices in their many forms. The RISD Museum has worked collectively and responsively to craft a path toward progress through our Anti-Racist Work to best serve our many communities. The director must be aligned with this work and will not only continue but also amplify and advance it.

We are at a crucial moment where art, design, and creative thinking are ascending as essential tools for shaping more livable futures; with this in mind, RISD sits at the helm as a relatively small school that plays an inordinately large role in the spheres of art & design and bears a responsibility to nurture and develop a burgeoning generation of thoughtful, empathetic inspired leaders. The next director joins RISD at a moment in which it has undergone a sustained re-evaluation of its disciplinary norms, pedagogical methods, and ethical responsibilities as a place of higher education. This re-evaluation has yielded a college-wide commitment to confronting complex issues, developing and socializing new ideas, and cultivating multi-polar canons that de-center Europe and the United States. RISD’s next museum director must understand the urgency, accept the responsibility, and embrace the potential to unify our community, enact change, and imagine our role in creating a more just, fair, and sustainable society.

The Museum Director serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and works closely with the President and will be advised by the Museum Board of Governors and Fine Arts Committee to support the Museum in fulfilling its mission to acquire, preserve, exhibit, and interpret works of art and design representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present and to assist with overseeing the growth and evolution of the Museum’s collection, respectively. The successful candidate will have a deeply rooted commitment to the full scope of programs and partnerships that are offered at the RISD Museum, a proven ability to work collaboratively with faculty and staff, and a record of success in advancing social equity and inclusion across the fabric of an institution. The director will lead and support an active exhibition and public programming schedule of the highest quality that seeks to offer an expanded view of artists, making, and history. Therefore, beyond the need for deep experience, education, and wisdom, the role of the director requires receptivity, an aesthetic sensibility, the skill to communicate in spoken and written word to a community that trades in images and materials, a data-informed approach to strategic decision-making, and something even more: a deep, abiding empathy that can bind us all together. In all this work, the director will champion and advance the core values of the institution.

RISD has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in the recruitment of its next museum director. For the full position description and to submit all applications, nominations, and inquiries, please visit

Rhode Island School of Design is an equal employment institution. RISD is looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of the globe and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in their community. When you join the team at RISD, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative, and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students, and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at RISD, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Mission + Values, our SEI Accountability Commitments, and our Strategic Plan.

Categories: Job Postings