Pratt 2020: A Year of Challenge and Change
A year unlike any other, 2020 has transformed the world and brought people closer to their communities more than ever. As the year draws to a close, Pratt takes a look at how our community transformed—how we came together, reached out, innovated, and imagined a new way forward.
The year began in familiar Pratt fashion.
We came together to expand our perspective.
“The more students can learn about what other departments are exploring, the more they recognize the same problem-solving and curiosity as they experience in their own practices.”
—Harriet Salmon, Fine Arts Operations Manager in the School of Art, BetaSpace organizer
We saw our practice touch the world.
Creating a prize for social impact. Elevating unsung artists. Collaging magic for Black Artstory Month. Designing for protection in a storm. Using reclaimed materials to address the global waste crisis. Honing creative industry skills while supporting NYC businesses.
When things changed, Pratt people met the moment, with ingenuity, agency, and courage.
“Our faculty, staff, and students are adventurers, thoughtful experimenters, and critical thinkers. Focusing this collective intelligence on the challenge at hand will allow us to make our way not only through this crisis, but into the changed world we will find on the other side.”
—Frances Bronet, President of Pratt Institute (address to the Pratt community, March 20, 2020)
We reached out to our neighbors.
“The community at Pratt has responded with passion and ingenuity to this crisis. There has been an outpouring of expression to help—from students, faculty, and staff.”
—Anita Cooney, Dean of the School of Design
We reached one another in new ways.
Pivoting to remote learning. Expanding the forum of critique. Sharing our research virtually. Joining the mail art movement. Adapting the exhibition experience with AR. Proposing new models for experiencing art in a time of social distancing.
We honored our inspiring community.
We sent off a phenomenal graduating class.
We ushered in the future of Pratt.
Welcoming our newest students, from more than 80 countries and almost every state in the US—including alumni of Pratt Young Scholars. Introducing a fresh course catalog and course search. Looking ahead to new degree opportunities in a cutting-edge field. Naming new leaders in the School of Art and Interior Design.
We pushed for progress toward justice.
Condemning injustice, discrimination, and racism and providing resources for anti-racism work. Connecting with . . . our thought leaders on social change. Launching First Gen Pratt. Empowering communities with data for environmental advocacy. Designing for racial, economic, and environmental justice. Celebrating BAP’s 30-year history and vibrant future of advancing Black alumni.
“Our current system—what people call ‘the market’—is entirely invented, and there is no reason why we can’t invent another system that serves our planet and its people better.”
—Meredith TenHoor, Professor of Architecture
We redesigned our fall semester with technology for connection.
80 percent of courses online, 20 percent hybrid. 1,865 fully online course sections. 476 hybrid course sections. 2,833 Pratt students studying entirely online. 484 students taking one hybrid course, and 866 students taking more than one hybrid course. With innovative use of technology, faculty made the hybrid and online classroom a community space for students around the world.
We came back strong.
Partnering across campus and with industry experts to reopen safely for the fall semester. Keeping our community informed and responsive to change. Bringing nourishment to campus. Anticipating campus enhancements in the not-so-distant future.
We embraced new modes of working and collaborating.
Accelerating teaching and learning advancements already underway. Reenvisioning Foundation year. Debuting new tools and ways of using technology to make creative practice accessible. Forging networks to think creatively about careers.
“This is a generative time for Pratt, and the work we’re doing now ensures not only our success in this moment, but our ability to keep growing and changing over time.”
—Donna Heiland, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
We created new pathways to help our students thrive.
We took stock of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s achievements.
We announced new student awards and initiatives to spur progress.
Launching scholarships for diversity, within architecture, in art and design, and across the Institute. Raising support for a diverse and equitable Pratt through Legends 2020. Providing tools and materials to first-year foundation, fashion, and architecture students through the Bruce Newman Student Materials Fund. Rallying support for students facing hardship through the Student Emergency Fund.
We got out the vote.
“Every day you see more and more people learning how to live their lives and make the best out of them.”
—Lara Copaescu, BArch ’22
Do you have your own stories of life at Pratt in 2020? The editorial team would love to hear from you. Please share your stories by emailing email@example.com.