Events

Throughout the year renowned artists, designers, scholars and others visit RISD to speak and share their work, and many departments host annual lecture series highlighting discipline-specific topics of interest. These events are open to the entire campus community—and often the general public, too.

We also offer prospective students several opportunities to connect with RISD, including on-campus and online information sessions throughout the fall.

Guest speaker | Ahmed Ansari

September 29,

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The Liberal Arts division and Global Arts and Cultures program invite the RISD community to a lecture by NYU Professor Ahmed Ansari, who teaches courses in interaction and systems design, design research and design studies. This talk aims to introduce the audience to a perspective from cultural anthropology little known in design anthropology or ethnographic research in design: that of the recent “ontological turn.” The discussion will focus on issues related to ethnographic shallowness within the context of design research and what a turn to taking radical alterity and ontological/cosmological difference seriously might entail.

Nature Lab series | The Common Thread

September 30,
More dates through October 7, 2020

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The Edna Lawrence Nature Lab and Southeastern New England Fibershed are pleased to announce the upcoming virtual panel series The Common Thread. This monthlong series will explore the commonalities within the systems of land, waste, material and color and how they can intersect with various modes of thought to drive positive change. Click here to RSVP and learn more.

Virtual RISD Weekend

October 6
More dates through October 10, 2020

In alignment with RISD’s plan for a de-densified campus in 2020–21, RISD Weekend is being planned in a virtual format. Dedicated programing for both families and alumni will be offered. Visit the website for more details and events.

Sustainability speaker | Myles Lennon

October 6,

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The Liberal Arts division and Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies program invite the RISD community to a lecture by environmental anthropologist and former sustainable energy policy practitioner Myles Lennon. His research explores how rooftop solar, “resiliency” microgrids and other climate mitigation infrastructures simultaneously reinforce and upend entrenched structures of power as they materialize across long-standing race and class divisions in New York City. His research has been supported by the US National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Symposium | Art History, Postcolonialism and the Global Turn II

October 9,

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The Liberal Arts division, Global Arts and Cultures program and Theory and History of Art and Design department invite the RISD community to the second in a three-part symposium on the state of postcolonial discourse in relation to 21st-century art history, architectural history, visual studies and art criticism. As attention turns increasingly toward the “global” in art history, has postcolonialism fallen into obsolescence? Although touted as liberating, does the new “global” dispensation mark a rupture with history? What shall become of the generative critical theory that emerged in the 1980s and ’90s, which partly grew out of reflections on anticolonial movements and post-independence nation-building? Speakers include Diana Martinez, Tufts University, Jennifer Bajorek, Hampshire College, and Anthony Gardner, Oxford University. For more information and to register, please visit the event’s website.

Art History, Postcolonialism, and the Global Turn Conference

October 9,
More dates through October 23, 2020

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Art History, Postcolonialism, and the Global Turn is a three-day conference (Sep. 25, Oct. 9, Oct. 23), that brings together international art historians to discuss whether, or to what degree, postcolonial discourses stand to be recuperated and revised in 21st-century art history, architectural history, visual studies, and art criticism. In cases where political alliances have frayed and nascent national governments foundered, radical politics have sometimes given way to disillusionment, while transnationalism, hybridity, and self-fashioning settle in as new norms. For some in the Global South, “postcolonial” may indeed appear misleading as an overall designation. Nevertheless, what could be the implications of moving past postcolonialism as we arguably celebrate a cosmopolitan world that has yet to be fully realized? With neoliberalism giving rise to what art historian Anthony Gardner has called “a resurgent focus on North Atlantic relations,” what would be the cost of letting the postcolonial slip away? The conference also presents a film by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, entitled Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder. The screening is followed by a conversation between the director and Vazira Zamindar (Brown, History) and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (RISD, Photography). Conference Speakers and Participants: Alexander Alberro Virginia Bloedel Wright ’51 Professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University Ariella Aïsha Azoulay Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media, Brown University Jennifer Bajorek Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Visual Studies, Hampshire College Tammer El-Sheikh Assistant Professor of Art History, York University Anthony Gardner Head of School and Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory. Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University Fellow in Fine Art, Queen’s College, Oxford University Sonal Khullar W. Norman Brown Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania Diana Martinez Assistant Professor and Director of Architectural Studies, Tufts University Ijlal Muzaffar Associate Professor of Modern Architectural History, RISD Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa Assistant Professor of Photography, RISD The conference is organized by: Foad Torshizi Assistant Professor of Art History, Rhode Island School of Design Joshua I. Cohen Assistant Professor of Art History, The City College of New York/CUNY Vazira F-Y Zamindar Associate Professor of History, Brown University The conference is sponsored by: RISD Division of Liberal Arts, RISD MA Program in Global Arts and Cultures, RISD Associate Provost for Social Equity and Inclusion (SEI), RISD Global, Brown University Center for Contemporary South Asia, Brown Arts Initiative, Brown University Art History from the South, Brown University Department of History, Brown University Department of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Brown University Decolonial Collective on Migration of Objects and People

Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder | A Conversation between the director Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, and Vazira Zamindar, and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa

October 10,

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A Conversation between the director of Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder, Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, and Vazira Zamindar, and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa. Ariella Aïsha Azoulay’s film, Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder will be screened from October 2, 2020 until October 9, 2020. You can learn more about the film and register for access to the limited online screening on this website. On October 10, the director will be in conversation with Vazira Zamindar (History Department, Brown) and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (Photography Department, RISD). For more information and to register, please visit the event’s website​

Film discussion | Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder

October 10,

The Liberal Arts division, Global Arts and Cultures program and Theory and History of Art and Design department invite the RISD community to a discussion of the documentary film Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder, part of a larger symposium focused on the state of postcolonial discourse in relation to 21st-century art history, architectural history, visual studies and art criticism. Director Ariella Aïsha Azoulay will join Brown University faculty member Vazira Zamindar and RISD’s Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa for a conversation about forced migration and other issues that inspired the film. For more information and to register, please visit the event’s website.

Panel discussion | Fabric of Immortality

October 16,

Fabric of Immortality focuses on Egungun masking, a unique cultural tradition practiced by the Yoruba of West Africa and their descendants in the African Diaspora, particularly in Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Trinidad, Venezuela and the United States of America. Egungun performances provide a vehicle and arena for dialogic reflections and celebrations, parody and play, and communication between the living and the departed, the seen and the unseen, upon which the stability of the human community and the universe is dependent. A great many varieties of these masks celebrate the guild of hunters and warriors, legendary heroes and heroines and founding ancestors including the legion of divinities straddling the landscape of Yoruba universe. Dr. Campbell will discuss the book with Dr. Cheryl Sterling. Bolaji Campbell, PhD is Professor of African and African Diaspora Art in the Department of Theory and History of Art and Design at RISD. Campbell holds a PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and MFA and BA degrees in fine arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He has previously taught at Obafemi Awolowo University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Sylvia and Pamela Coleman Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Richard A. Horovitz Professional Development Fund Fellowship, Institute of International Education; and a Postdoctoral Fellowship, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. His publications include Fabric of Immortality: Ancestral Power, Performance and Agency in Egungun Artistry (Africa World Press, 2020) Painting for the Gods: Art and Aesthetics of Yoruba Religious Murals (Africa World Press, 2008) as well as numerous essays in learned journals. Cheryl Sterling Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of English. She is a Fulbright Scholar and recipient of numerous grants including the Organization of American States fellowship. She is the former Director of Black Studies at The City College of New York (CUNY). Her teaching and research interests overlap the areas of identity, representation, and aesthetics in African and African Diaspora Literature, Post-Colonial Theory, Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, Social and Cultural Movements in Brazil. She has published numerous critical essays in noted journals and in texts such as Migrations and Creative Expressions of Africa and the African Diaspora, Narrating War and Peace in Africa and Archipelagos of Sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music. She is the editor of a special issue of WAGADU: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies on African and Diasporic Women’s Literature (Winter 2017). Her award-winning book, African Roots, Brazilian Rites: Cultural and National Identity (Palgrave MacMillan 2012), investigates African roots matrix ideologies in the literary and performance traditions of Afro-Brazilians. Her edited volume, Transnational Trills in the Africana World explores the overlap of politics and creative production (Cambridge SP 2019). Prof. Sterling is currently working on a book that creates Aesthetic theory based on Yoruba Orisha paradigms to read African and African Diasporic texts and images, and another edited work called, Transnational Fictions, focusing on the Africana women’s writings.

Visiting scholar | Kate Fletcher

October 20,

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Kate Fletcher is the most cited scholar in the field of fashion and sustainability, with over 70 scholarly and popular publications in the field, and the most cited scholar in the field. She is author of nine books including Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys (2008), with a fully revised Second Edition with new content released in 2014. Readers call it “inspiring,” “the foundation for a radical new perspective” and “a bible” and it is in active use in commercial design studios and is the principal text in academic seminar rooms around the world. She is co-editor of one of the prestige Routledge International Handbook series on Sustainability and Fashion (2015) and of Opening Up the Wardrobe: A Methods Book (2017), co-author of Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change (2012), author of the Craft of Use: Post-Growth Fashion (2016), exploring fashion opportunities beyond consumerism. In 2018 a collection of Fletcher’s work was curated and translated into Italian: Moda, Design e Sostenibilità. More recently, Fletcher has published autobiographical writings on clothing and nature in the book Wild Dress (2019), co-editor of Design and Nature: A Partnership (2019) and co-author of Earth Logic: Fashion Action Research Plan. Her work is available in seven languages. Fletcher is Research Professor of Sustainability, Design, Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts London where she explores change through many different projects. She sits of a range of committees and has acted as an advisor including to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion at the House of Lords. She is also a co-founder of the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion which formed in 2018.

Symposium | Art History, Postcolonialism and the Global Turn III

October 23,

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The Liberal Arts division, Global Arts and Cultures program and Theory and History of Art and Design department invite the RISD community to the last session of a three-part symposium on the state of postcolonial discourse in relation to 21st-century art history, architectural history, visual studies and art criticism. As attention turns increasingly toward the “global” in art history, has postcolonialism fallen into obsolescence? Although touted as liberating, does the new “global” dispensation mark a rupture with history? What shall become of the generative critical theory that emerged in the 1980s and ’90s, which partly grew out of reflections on anticolonial movements and post-independence nation-building? Speakers include Alexander Alberro, Barnard/Columbia University and RISD Associate Professor Ijlal Muzaffar. For more information and to register, please visit the event’s website

Visiting scholar | Madina Tlostanova

October 27,

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Uneasy Affinities: The Postcolonial and the Postsocilaist Art Between Resistance and Re-existance Madina Tlostanova is a critical culture theorist and professor of postcolonial feminisms at Linköping University, Sweden. Her teaching and research abroad is focused on decolonial option, alterglobalism, postsocialist imaginary, fiction and contemporary art, non-Western feminism and gender studies, and the critical rethinking of Eurasian imperial/colonial histories. Studies of philology, literary criticism and American culture in Moscow State University (MA in 1991), Gorky Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences, PhD on the US Southern fiction in 1994 and postdoctoral thesis in 2000 – on US multiculturalism). Tlostanova has been invited as a visiting scholar, international lecturer and keynote speaker to many universities in Europe and in the US (Bremen University, Duke University, Linkoping University, Sodertorn University, Slovakian Academy of Sciences, etc.). Most recent books in English include: Gender Epistemologies and Eurasian Borderlands (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Learning to Unlearn: Decolonial Reflections from Eurasia and the Americas (co-authored with Walter Mignolo, University of Ohio Press, 2012). Editor in chief of the Russian interdisciplinary journal Personality, Culture. Society. Author of eight books and 225 articles published in many countries and languages. Author of two decolonial feminist novels. Forthcoming book: Decolonial Aesthesis and Postsoviet Imaginary.

Sustainability speaker | Julian Agyeman

October 30,

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Please join us for Just Sustainabilites in Policy, Planning and Practice, a lecture by Tufts Professor Julian Agyeman, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. In his talk, Agyeman will outline the concept of just sustainabilities as a response to the “equity deficit” of much sustainability thinking and practice. He will explore his contention that who can belong in our cities will ultimately determine what our cities can become and will illustrate his ideas with examples from urban planning and design, urban agriculture and food justice and the concept of sharing cities.