Rhode Island School of Design, Providence : critical making

Dieckvoss, Stephanie (2017) Rhode Island School of Design, Providence : critical making. Kunstforum International, 245, pp. 160-173. ISSN (print) 0177-3674


RISD in Providence, USA, is one of the oldest and most respected art schools of the country. Still following its 19the Century mission statement the school focuses on the idea of “critical making” and supports skills based education from day one, while at the same time acknowledging and fostering the idea that it is creativity which shapes problem solving in our society today and tomorrow. This paper traces the notion of critical making in a theoretical framework and investigates how it manifests itself within the history of the art school in Providence as well as in its current vision and practice. This article is part of the themed issue of the German art publication “Kunstforum” (Volume 245, March/April 2017. It is titled: Kunst lernen? Kunstakademien heute. It asks how art academies educate today across the world and uses 8 academies as case studies for the investigation into the relationship between making as a “craft” versus concept based ideology. It asks how students and tutors today explore creativity. Based on interviews and conversations as well as visits with students, teachers, artists and curators, the focus lies on the central question of the relationship between workshop and studio practice and the idea of making in relation to concepts, ideas and reflection. The individual articles, read together, open up a debate – convergences and differences in different places - about material skills and notions of creativity today.

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