In this presidential election cycle, the candidates have been dogged by questions about everything from their foreign policy chops to their gaffe-prone press conferences. But design theorist Tony Fry has another burning political question, and he argues it’s the only one that really matters: Is liberal democracy itself a viable path to sustainability?
Fry – a major figure in sustainability studies and head of the Masters in Design Futures program at Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art in Australia – will share his ideas on design as an engine for radical political, social and environmental change at a lecture this Wednesday, September 19 at 6 pm in the Chace Center.
“We all confront an unavoidable choice: we either support the status quo…or we choose a path of change,” says Fry, a farm forester, philosopher and author of the 2011 book Design As Politics. “To choose change means knowing how to identify, create and become an agent of change who is able to mobilize design to this end. For non-designers and designers, the potential capability of design as an instrument of change needs to be grasped.”
Fry’s talk, Design in the Age of Planetary Unsettlement, will inaugurate a first-ever lecture series by RISD’s Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies program, an experimental undergraduate pilot program launched this fall. The rigorous, interdisciplinary program is being offered through the department of History, Philosophy + the Social Sciences, which is sponsoring the lecture along with the departments of Interior Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
Tomorrow evening Patti Phillips, interim associate provost at RISD, will participate in a panel discussion at Hunter College centered on art, the environment and the public sphere.
The five art professionals, critics and cultural thinkers invited by the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities to take part in the public discussion are using the still-evolving Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratory project BROADWAY: 1000 Steps as a catalyst for talking about the role of artists in furthering public support for sustainability and environmental activism. Among her many roles at RISD, Patti is deeply involved in issues of public engagement.
We all know what sustainability means when applied to certain types of design - architecture, industrial design and adaptive reuse - but what does it mean to incorporate the social aspects of sustainability into other types of art and design?
This fall RISD is launching an experimental pilot program in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies (NCSS) to explore these issues. Offered through HPSS, the rigorous interdisciplinary program is open to current freshmen and sophomores who want to delve into a focused set of courses around these topics to complement their major.
Associate Professor of Sociology Damian White is coordinating the effort and is hosting a series of informational sessions that began today, with two more scheduled for next week. Students interested in being considered for the first cohort of NCSS need to fill out an application and send it to the Advisory Committee no later than Friday, May 18 at 4 pm (please note: this submission date is a change to the date previously publicized).
Contact Damian (email@example.com) with any questions or for application forms.