Community Partnerships

Guiding Principles for Community Partnerships at MICA

This is a living, learning document to guide MICA students, staff, and faculty in creating and facilitating equitable partnerships with the community through art and design. MICA is committed to providing tools, trainings, and support in utilizing these principles.

MICA acknowledges that “community” can be defined in many ways. Within the context of community partnerships and community engagement, MICA typically uses “community” to signify Baltimore neighborhoods and residents beyond our campus.

With these principles we are specifically centering our interactions with demographic and/or geographic groups of people who have historically experienced social and economic marginalization.        

Establish and maintain reciprocal and trusting relationships. 
Work collaboratively and consistently with our partners to design goals, outcomes, and evaluation methods. Respect partners through honesty, transparency, and responsiveness. 

Honor the voices of those who are impacted by the outcomes of the partnership. 
Model the ethic of “do nothing about us without us.”

Identify what is already working and what has worked in the past at the community level.
Encourage respectful innovation that comes from collaboration, with consent. Honor and build on local knowledge, practices, and assets. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Create and support platforms for interaction, cultural exchange, information sharing, and relationship building. 
Prioritize joy, healing, and connection.

Advance principles of racial equity.
Given the complex history of systemic racism, inequitable access to resources, and the power and privilege of institutions engaged with communities in Baltimore, MICA will identify ways to share resources and make decisions in collaboration with people who have historically experienced social and economic marginalization.

Anticipate and address barriers to participation.
Consider cost, location, timing, childcare, accessibility, security, parking. Ensure that all people are respected and welcomed in order to cultivate spaces for belonging.

Recognize that actions by individuals and institutions, however well-intentioned, may cause unintended harm.
Take responsibility for missteps and work to redress them.

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