Short-Duration Public Installation Policy

Works of art and other displays by students are forms of free expression. The college protects students’ right to free expression and is committed to civil discourse.

Students who install art or other displays in public spaces are expected to function as good citizens of the college and stewards of the campus; the college is our community. The policies below guide these forms of public display, which support students interested in public expression, and guide them through the successful installation of art or other forms of public display on campus.

Forms of Student Art Works or Other Display in Public Spaces

The college characterizes two forms of student art or display in public spaces:

1) a curricular installation in a public space, such as artwork assigned in a course. The annual exhibition of senior thesis projects by Studio Arts majors, display of work on all Olin hallway space, and displays in the Museum of Art are excluded from this policy.

2) an installation in a public space that is a noncurricular expression or display by one or more students such as an installation of posters offering commentary on current events.

The guidelines below consider shorter-duration installations of student curricular art or displays, specifically. For art works and displays that are to be installed in public spaces for more than 14 days, please refer to the Longer-Duration Public Installation Policy.

Curricular Art and Other Displays in Public Spaces


Curricular public displays are art installations or public expression connected to a student’s academic coursework that are temporarily placed in public spaces outside or in buildings on campus. Most curricular displays are installations of art, though projects may be assigned and overseen by faculty in any discipline.


Installation of curricular student art in public spaces is overseen by the course instructor in consultation with the chair of the Committee on Public Art. (The Committee on Public Art consists of members of the faculty, staff, and students).

Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for installations of curricular art or expression in public spaces. Curricular public displays of student work may not alter or cause damage to campus property or grounds, present a safety hazard, or impede access to campus spaces. If a curricular public display damages a Bates building or its contents, campus property, or grounds, or if an installation is not completely removed and the site cleaned and returned to its original condition, the student(s) may be charged for repair or cleaning costs.

Duration of Installations

The installation period of curricular public displays is generally 14 or fewer days. If a faculty member seeks to install curricular public displays of student work for a period longer than 14 days, the faculty member and student must propose the project to the Committee on Public Art, through its chair, following the guidelines for the Longer-Duration Public Installation Policy.


Concept Review

A student assigned an art project to be displayed in a public space or other public display as part of course work must review the proposal with the course instructor and gain the instructor’s approval. The student and the instructor must discuss the content of the installation as well as its optimal location and duration. The location must be a public space approved for installations that is available and may be reserved through the Events Management System. The installation must not pose a safety hazard. Examples of safety hazards include, but are not limited to, objects that block entrances or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic flow or that block snow or trash removal. The installation must not damage the building, furniture, or other college property.

Logistical Considerations

Students and their instructors installing art in public spaces in the context of a course must consider the following when developing the work:

  • Will there be costs to install, maintain, and remove the display? If so, what are the costs? Who or what department is responsible for the costs?
  • Is the proposed location an established space for public displays?
  • Is the space available for the proposed time period? (The instructor must reserve space for the project through the Bates Events Management System (
  • Are all appropriate stakeholders notified of the installation (e.g., location managers, departments who work near the location, Facilities Services, Security)?

Reserving Installation Space

The student/students creating the art or display must obtain pre-approval for the project from the instructor or faculty advisor whose course is connected to the student art or display project. Integral to the approval process is the instructor’s use of the Bates Events Management System (EMS). If the instructor pre-approves a curricular art project intended for a public space, the instructor must enter a pre-reservation at the EMS at least 7 days in advance of the physical installation of the project. Once the pre-reservation is entered, the EMS will automatically notify relevant offices on campus (including, e.g., Facilities, Security, and Environmental Health & Safety). If a discussion of the project is needed, the notified offices (e.g., Facilities) will contact the instructor within 3 days of receiving the EMS pre-reservation. Those consultations must occur prior to the instructor’s final approval of the project.

Installation and Removal

The installation and removal of the art or display project must be undertaken within the installation period reserved through the Events Management System. Students are responsible for all installation and removal. If special equipment is required, the instructor should contact Facilities Services or the appropriate office.


All installations should include correct signage and attribution of student artists and makers as well as the course for which the work is displayed. Good labels credit the makers and provide opportunities for discussion, engagement, and enlightenment.

The “Public” in Art Displayed in Public: Discussion and Feedback

Course-related artistic or other curricular work displayed in a public space presents opportunities to communicate ideas, concepts, opinions, and perspectives. Students and instructors who install public displays for courses are strongly encouraged to create opportunities for discussion about and reaction to the installation, so that, to paraphrase the American Association of University Professors, ideas and forms of knowledge may be interpreted, explored, debated, and our shared understanding expanded (AAUP, “On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes”).

Respecting Art Displayed in Public

It is a violation of this policy for anyone other than the student(s) or instructor responsible for an installation of curricular art or expression in a public space to deface or remove the installed object. Removing or defacing a work of art displayed in public may result in referral to the student conduct system. That said, art displayed in public by its nature imposes itself on an audience in unmediated ways. The audience may be critical or even hostile to its perceived message or value. All art displayed in public entails – even invites – this risk. It behooves the creator to expect and allow for a multiplicity of reactions and outcomes.