Partnerships + Collaborations


RISD and its corporate, government, foundation and nonprofit partners have discovered the extraordinary benefits of collaborative research projects with RISD students and faculty—on campus and around the world. These partnerships challenge artists and designers to focus their minds and hands on coming up with new ideas and fresh approaches to a wide array of business, civic and societal needs.

Our partners understand that art and design lie at the heart of creativity and innovation. Forward-looking organizations recognize that RISD’s core values of “critical thinking” and “critical making” provide fertile ground for engagement.

The most typical way they do this is through a partnered studio, for one semester or two, custom-designed for each partner and centered on an open-ended question or idea ripe for mutual exploration. Questions have ranged from “What will play look like in the future?” to  “How can we best express creativity on a mobile phone?” Students come together from a single discipline or many to consider the question and attack the challenge through hands-on research and experimentation.

Partnered studios don’t try to do what businesses and organizations can readily do in-house – crank out the next iteration of a product or service, or refine existing ideas. Instead, RISD harnesses its collective creativity to give its partners in all sectors a way to consider new perspectives, find new markets and discover innovative ideas at the heart of their mission.

When each project wraps up, the partnership generally continues – as a real relationship. RISD keeps the process of design discovery alive by capturing and documenting each project in ways that allow our partners to share and build on the innovative process within their own organizations and with their clients.


Partnerships in the Media
  • ELLE Presents Student Designs in NYC

    Students won major recognition and cash prizes in the ELLE + RISD Fashion Next competition and runway show, which was presented as part of New York’s Fashion Week.

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At RISD there's nothing unusual about suddenly finding a doorknob on a tree trunk, shown here across from Carr House,
the charming home of Student Life offices and the student-run Carr Haus Café.