RISD Public Engagement seeks to expand opportunities for students and faculty to engage in art and design as forces for social change through research, service initiatives, projects and programs in the public realm.

Sectors of focus include urban/environmental sustainability, wellness/public health and community-based art and design education, which also connect to research interests and priorities at RISD. The goal of Public Engagement is to support faculty, students and alumni in their efforts to connect art and design research and scholarship with the public sphere – locally and globally.

RISD continues to develop its role as a site of responsible innovation and ethical engagement by fostering academic and curricular opportunities (travel and on-site courses, lectures, symposia and partnered studios with nonprofit organizations), co-curricular public service and volunteer opportunities, and extracurricular pathways for community service, projects and partnerships..

RISD Public Engagement is directed by the vice provost and guided by a public engagement action group comprised of faculty, students and staff from Student Affairs, the Office of International Programs, the Career Center, the RISD Museum of Art, ProjectOpen Door, Rhode Island Campus Compact, VISTA workers and undergraduate and graduate student representatives. A community service coordinator and a public engagement post-graduate fellow were recently added to RISD’s Public Engagement staff.

The staff also works closely with student organizations, including the Student Alliance and Graduate Student Alliance.

Additionally, in order to connect its work within an expansive national dialogue on public and civic engagement RISD has established an institutional membership in Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship and practice integrating the humanities, arts and design.


Dean of Graduate Studies
401 454-6134

In informal crits, students are called on to defend their own work and provide constructive feedback to each other.