Rosanne Somerson received her BFA from RISD in 1976 and joined
RISD’s faculty in 1985. After serving as interim provost for
the 2011–12 academic year, she has been appointed provost effective July 1, 2012. In addition, she served as interim associate
Academic Affairs from 2005–07.
After a sabbatical in 2007–08, Somerson resumed her position as professor and head of Furniture
Design. From 1985–95 she ran the MFA Graduate Program in Furniture
Design in Industrial Design, and from 1995–05 was head of
the newly formed Department of Furniture Design at RISD.
In addition to her academic roles at RISD, Somerson has maintained her own studio since 1978, where she designs and
makes furniture for exhibitions and by commission. She is also a
partner in DEZCO llc, a production furniture company whose projects
include design and manufacture of the furnishings for the 500 bed
living quarters in 15 West at RISD.
Somerson has exhibited work extensively throughout the US and internationally in museums such as the Louvre in Paris and in numerous major international museums and exhibits. She is featured in many books and publications, and is included in a host of private, corporate and museum collections, notably the Smithsonian American Art Museum as well as Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Yale University Art Gallery, the Huntsville Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama, the Fuller Museum of Craft in Massachusetts, The Smith College Museum of Art, and the Museum of Art, RISD. She has lectured in museums, conferences, corporations, and schools across the world, has served on many panels and juries, and appeared in several videos and television segments. She was an honored subject of the Oral History Artists Project of the Smithsonian Institute. She has received awards and citations for her work as a designer, artist, and teacher, including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Crafts Educator Award.
Academic Research/Areas of Interest
- International Consultant for Design Education Practices and Assessment
- Workshop Leader for corporate executive education in Design Thinking and Creative Practice
- Contemporary design research; new technologies, materials, events, and experiences
- Scholarship: See Publications on CV
- Practice: See exhibitions and lectures on CV
- BFA, Rhode Island School of Design