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New Year, New Life

January 18th, 2012 10:59am by Liisa Silander

With the new year, we’ve moved on to a refreshed and (we hope) improved version of our risd. We hope you’ll keep reading – and sharing – posts about all aspects of RISD and our extraordinary community.

our risd is the most informal of the news and information sources RISD people produce to share stories about what students, faculty and alumni are thinking, making and doing. While the stories in the News section of our primary website, risd.edu, allow for more length and depth, the posts on our risd offer tasty little newsbites about campus and community events and exhibitions, faculty pursuits, alumni in the news and everything else that makes this place so irresistible.

You might also want to check out two other timely entry points to what’s going on on campus: RISD’s Center for Student Involvement site and the student news site The All-Nighter.

Fink Salutes the Solstice

December 21st, 2011 6:03pm by Liisa Silander

English professor and local literary legend Mike Fink marked the winter solstice today by sharing his thoughts about fall festivities and seasonal celebrations in a This I Believe / Rhode Island commentary on our local public radio station, WRNI. In the piece, he comments on history, religion, nature, freedom and the joys of holiday rituals, creating a single timely ode to light and life.

Listen for yourself right here.

Shepard Fairey Design Graces TIME Magazine

December 21st, 2011 11:57am by Francie Latour

For the second time in three years, TIME magazine turned to designer Shepard Fairey 92 IL to create an iconic image for its annual Person of the Year issue. The magazine’s conceptual pick, “The Protester,” seems a perfect match for the street-artist-turned-contemporary-illustrator: Fairey has been a vocal supporter of the Occupy movement, and his controversial work often directly confronts issues of capitalism, consumerism, religion, rebellion and power. In 2008 Fairey recreated his iconic “Hope” poster from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for TIME after the magazine named Obama Person of the Year.

In an interview with TIME, Fairey says he created the cover image from a composite of photographs from protests around the world — including the Arab Spring, Moscow protests, Occupy Wall Street and Occupy L.A., where a local photographer captured a female protester wearing a vinegar-soaked bandana (to counteract the effects of pepper spray).

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“It makes me proud of idealism and a willingness to stand up for your beliefs,” Fairey says of the global protest movements. “I hope the cover conveys my idea that these are people around the world that are serious, but that they’re just people like everyone else.”

Trustee Stuart Murphy to Speak @ NY Public Library

December 21st, 2011 9:56am by John Maeda

Trustee Stuart “Stu” Murphy just let me know that he is speaking at the New York Public Library on his unique combination of math education and the arts — or “STEAM” as we call it. -JM

photo credit: Janet Ginsburg


December 15th, 2011 2:38pm by Liisa Silander

Associate Professor Peter Yeadon got a double-mention in the November issue of Metropolis, which ran an article on interesting design collectives in Brooklyn (including MEx, the cooperative studio space Decker Yeadon shares with others), along with a piece called Bacteria at Work. The latter focuses on the Arsenic Biosensor, a water safety detection device he’s working on with a multidisciplinary team. The biosensor uses genetically engineered bacteria that make water change color if it’s contaminated with arsenic – a common pollutant in the developing world.

“The scientists… were looking for a designer to advance their synthetic-biology biosensor research into a working device, so I took it into RISD and had Industrial Design students in my Nanovation Studio work on developing kits,” Peter notes in the article.

Long active at the intersection of design, science and technology, he is also one of the faculty hosts involved in RISD’s new Shared Voices speaker series, which begins next month. Peter will co-host a talk by well-known particle physicist Lisa Randall on February 2.


December 13th, 2011 1:18pm by Francie Latour

What do Madeleine Albright, Venus Williams, John Waters and Madonna all have in common? Over the years, they have all been adorned in Glitterlimes, the candy-and-fruit-slice jewelry line created by Debbie Tuch 96 JM. Since she first hit on the fantastical, resin-coated designs in 1996, Tuch’s credo has been “to bring glitter to the masses” — so it makes sense that her wares landed in Lady Gaga’s Workshop at Barneys New York, a collaboration between the pop icon and fashion mecca that transformed the ninth floor of Barneys’ Madison Avenue store into a whimsical world of fairy-tale displays and the apparel, jewelry and accessories of designers handpicked by Lady Gaga herself.

For the workshop, which is open through January 2, Tuch designed a line specifically for Barneys, including rock candy earrings, bracelets and necklaces. If you can’t make it to the holiday extravaganza in person, you can see Tuch’s designs at Gaga’s Workshop online.


December 13th, 2011 9:34am by John Maeda

I just received an official summary of the event from Rex Wong in addition to my recent post:

Our recently held RISD Art Show & Artist Ball event was successfully held in Hong Kong on December 1st. Over one hundred guests attended the two events, and all the alumni artworks presented for auction were sold. As a result, we were able to raise HKD$33,500, which we see as the beginning for future efforts to bringing the school and Hong Kong/China closer together.

Thanks Rex! -JM


December 12th, 2011 4:42pm by Francie Latour

Can animation capture the violence and trauma of guerrilla kidnappings in Colombia, once known as the kidnapping capital of the world? In the hands of Colombian-born illustrator Juana Medina 10 GD, it can. With shadowy images and the grainy, recorded voices of a mother and daughter, Medina tells the haunting story of Consuelo González de Perdomo, a Colombian congresswoman who survived seven years of captivity in the jungle.

Her video, Learning to Appreciate Moldy Bread, is featured on the website of the PBS series Women, War & Peace, a five-part televised series and multimedia initiative examining the roles of women in peace and war.


December 12th, 2011 4:41pm by John Maeda

The trio of Donald Choi ‘82 AR, Frank Chow ‘92 LDAR, and Rex Wong ‘03 AR, who together founded the Hong Kong Alumni Association, took the alumni event to a new level with an outdoor party on top of a building in Hong Kong. Many current alumni and parents of RISD came, and a bunch of non-RISD people were there as well in a show of support for a special art show arranged by the association. Thank you Donald, Frank, and Rex for your leadership! -JM


December 12th, 2011 4:17pm by John Maeda

Martin Lo ‘84 BID is a RISD ID grad and is the only alum I know in the world who has moved an entire port operation in Hong Kong hundreds of miles away to mainland China – thus is RISD, you never know what to expect from our unique family of graduates. Martin accomplished that feat in the late 90’s, moving his family’s shipbuilding business and facing a variety of unimaginable challenges. As Martin put it, “RISD taught me how to solve problems of any scale.” Judging by the size of the shipbuilding facility I visited, I now see a whole new side to a RISD education. -JM