Deborah Bright 2012NEW YORK, N.Y., July 2, 2012 — Pratt Institute has named Deborah Bright, a photographer, scholar, art and visual culture historian, author, and administrator as Chair of the Fine Arts Department in the School of Art and Design. Bright's appointment began July 1, 2012. She succeeds Donna Moran, a fine artist who Chaired the department since 2000.

“Professor Bright is a leading figure in the worlds of fine art and education,” said Pratt School of Art and Design Dean Concetta M. Stewart. “With her expertise as an academic, administrator, and artist, she will play an essential role in making the Department of Fine Arts into a major force in fine arts education,” she added.

On her appointment, Bright said: “I am thrilled to join Dean Stewart and my colleagues in the School of Art and Design, and to work with faculty who are committed educators as well as accomplished artists in the nation's cultural capital, New York. Higher education faces daunting challenges in our globalized and technologically tethered era, and this makes it all the more important that we define our mission as a Fine Arts Department and articulate the crucial importance of the fine arts as the radical investigation of what it means to be alive in our times.”   
Deborah Bright most recently held a joint appointment as professor of photography and history of art/visual culture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where she served as acting dean of fine arts from 2009-2011. Her photographic projects have been exhibited internationally, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museet for Fotokunst, Copenhagen; Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; and at the Cambridge Darkroom and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her photographs are included in the collections of the Whitney Museum; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian; Addison Gallery of American Art; Fogg Art Museum; The Boston Athenaeum, Rose Art Museum; University Art Museum at Binghamton University; California Museum of Photography, and the RISD Museum of Art. She has received numerous grants and awards for her photography and critical writing. Bright edited a groundbreaking collection of images and writings on photography and queer sexualities, The Passionate Camera: Photography and Bodies of Desire (Routledge, 1998), and in 2010, received recognition as Honored Educator of the Year by the Society for Photographic Education.
As Chair, Bright is responsible for leading Pratt's Fine Arts Department, which offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees as well as graduate dual degrees with History of Art and Design and Art and Design Education. The graduate program is designed to encourage a wide variety of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary study. The undergraduate program offers students a broad introduction to fine arts and provides them focused aesthetic direction in their last two years of study. It is the department's goal to encourage students to develop their vision in ways they could not have anticipated before arriving at Pratt.   
The mission of the School of Art and Design is to educate artists and designers as well as educators, therapists, and historians in cognate fields. Drawing on the intellectual, technological, and professional resources of 15 departments, the school offers a Renaissance-style immersion in many related disciplines. Beyond enhancing their discipline-specific skills, students learn to be creative, responsible professionals willing and able to contribute to society in fundamental ways.
Image: Deborah Bright, Pratt's Chair of fine arts
Image credit: Jonathan Weitz

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