Art School Accused of Darkening Skin Tones in Brochure to Make Institution Appear More Diverse

By Kehl Bayern / September 14, 2018

Diversity is an important factor that a lot of educational institutions like to pursue as a global goal.

And when you’re an international school looking to expand overseas, this might be an important institutional aim to pursue – as long as you actually are doing that.

Image via Daian Gan from

After all, a multitude of voices, backgrounds, and experiences can only serve to enrich the educational experiences of students.

But typically students mean actual diversity and not edited images in a brochure that give off the image of having a diverse student body.

One art school in Lyon, France is accused of altering images in its school brochure in order to make some skin tones darker in a bid to make their student body appear more diverse. Other images inserted diverse applicants into photos where they weren’t originally present according to FStoppers.

In a bid to appeal to more American students, the Émile Cohl art school even admitted to “digitally darkened” the faces of some its existing students, a feature noticed by the same members of the student body in what we are sure was one of the more awkward complaints to be address to school administration.

This push to broaden its student base is also part of the school’s planned expansion in the United States starting with Los Angeles.

Don't worry: The school has an explanation for all of this marketing confusion, naturally.

For its part, the school’s assistant director Emmanuel Perrier blames the marketing firm the school hired, saying: “The communication company decided on its own to darken the skin of some students to add diversity. The communication campaign was made from the U.S.”

Of course, this whole incident has led to the cessation of using this agency for marketing purposes and the school has apologized to its student body for the misrepresentation.


About the author

Kehl Bayern

Kehl Bayern is our staff news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing. In terms of photography, he is interested in architecture and modern design. Kehl Bayern is also the author of science fiction thriller Animus Proxy. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts and studied politics at the University of Virginia and, later, Harvard University for graduate school. He spends much of his time traveling up and down the east coast of the United States. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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