fall 10




After applying for a grant with a colleague and receiving an honorable mention, we were given the opportunity to design and teach a class, at RISD next semester, as a part of our thesis investigation. The grant writing process helped to crystallize our ideas and we’re looking forward to thinking through the idea of agency with our fellow graduate students while achieving a somewhat elusive goal here at RISD, working in the community as a part of our theses investigations. The course description is below and more on our progress next semester.

DESIGN AGENCY | GRAD-023G-01 | spring 2011 | CIT 105
How do we partner with communities to facilitate change? Increasingly, designers see themselves as change agents in this equation – strategic thinkers and skilled makers who facilitate action around social issues and needs. But to engage in this work honestly, it is crucial that we are reflective – that we examine our assumptions about what gives us agency within a particular community or around a particular issue.

One of the best ways to engage these questions and to evaluate the impact of our designs is to work locally. This class will serve as a both a laboratory and a working model for design agency on a local scale. As a class, we will collaborate with community leaders and organizations to identify and undertake a single issue-based project within Providence. We will root our investigations at a systems and relationship level to develop solutions that both address the problem at hand and that encourage agency in others. Readings, in-class dialogues and site visits will address questions related to the concept of design agency, building sustainable relationships, scalability, design strategy, and the nature of public engagement.


RD’s new website!

Launched at the beginning of October, the new Respond Design website is up! I worked with a terrific programmer to develop an easy-to-use, fresh and dynamic site. Content is generated by twitter feed, delicious bookmarks, google calendar and wordpress posts so all RD coordinators can contribute content from any computer, anywhere. The design pays homage to the previous one the original RD crew developed a few years back, though I rejuvenated and reimagined it. Check out to find out what we’re up to!



Many are questioning whether sustainability is really sustainable. I’ve been frustrated with the word’s misuse and was eager to find a way to explore the definition of sustainability further. When chatting with friends at the Cable Car Cinema and RISD Museum the Sustainability Film Series was born. Through current, feature films we are testing the boundaries of how sustainability is addressed and challenge movie-goers with some tough content.

2010-2011 series:
Waste Land | Last Train Home | Carbon Nation | Ghost Bird