The faculty and staff of the Rhode Island School of Design (RSID) have published a book about the school’s approach to education and innovation. Entitled “The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice,” the book shows how RISD nurtures creative practice from initial spark to finished outcome.
In “critical making,” the hand and mind combine to envision and create essential objects, experiences, and meanings. The concepts behind “critical making” can be helpful to anyone seeking to contextualize, navigate, and transform increasingly complex cultures, structures, and networks.
The book was written to inspire new and rigorous ways of thinking among all creative innovators, including business people, practicing artists and designers, prospective students of art and design, and educators. .
“I believe that art and design have critical roles to play in innovation in this next century, much like science and technology did in the last,” says Dr. John Maeda, President, Rhode Island School of Design in the foreword. He believes the methods in the book can drive new ideas, movements, and solutions for tackling the complex problems of the modern world.
“As the world grows increasingly complex and fast-paced, with global issues impacting us all, making, materials, and meaning are critical,” explains co-editor Rosanne Somers in the book’s introduction. “The kind of essential knowing that we develop at RISD—informed through our hands, through our bodies, and in the creation of works, experiences, and events—is more cogent than at any other time.”
Readers of the book will learn how to:
- Frame critical questions through an iterative process
- Apply hands-on, embodied approaches to problems
- Enhance seeing through closer looking
- Meet uncertainty with flexibility
- Evaluate and articulate the significance of one’s work
- Generate ethical responses to global needs
“The Art of Critical Making” was published by Wiley in September, 2013 was edited by Rosanne Somerson and Mara L. Hermano.
Rosanne Somerson is the Provost at Rhode Island School of Design. A professor for more than 25 years, she has lectured in museums, conferences, corporations, and schools while maintaining her own studio since 1978. She has exhibited work in museums throughout the United States and abroad, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Louvre in Paris.
Mara Hermano is Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Academic Initiatives at Rhode Island School of Design. Trained as an art historian, she has focused her career on the intersection of art and design, culture, and higher education.