RISD to Host Design Science Symposium

The Fifth Biennial Design Science Symposium, STEAM Intelligence, will convene from April 15 – 17, 2016 on the RISD campus. Programming will take place in the Metcalf Auditorium at the Chace Center (20 N. Main Street) and at the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab (13 Waterman Street). The event will feature keynote and plenary speakers, hands-on making workshops, Share +Tell presentations, an art exhibition, and tours of the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab and the Arthur Loeb Design Science Teaching Collection.

At this highly interactive symposium, makers, thinkers, practitioners and educators gather to explore the multidisciplinary field of design science. This year’s topic is STEAM Intelligence which stands for multidisciplinary thinking that relies on actively integrating and applying Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (+Design) and Math. Themes for the symposium include whole systems thinking, bio design and looking to and learning from nature (biomimicry).

Keynote speakers include green building strategist Bill Browning, MS; artist Rebecca Kamen (RISD MFA 78 Sculpture); architect and morphologist Haresh Lalvani, PhD; and green chemist John Warner, PhD. Schedule details for the three-day event can be found here: designscience.risd.edu and SynergeticsCollaborative.org.

STEAM is a movement championed by RISD and widely adopted by many institutions, corporations and individuals over the last several years. An acronym for adding the Arts to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), STEAM represents an integrative and multidisciplinary approach to education that is central to the Symposium.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend hands-on workshops facilitated by artists, educators, engineers, inventors, designers and mathematicians. Facilitators include design scientist Joe Clinton, an associate of the firm Buckminster Fuller, Sadao & Zung; his colleague, architect Thomas T. K. Zung; and sculptor Stephen Metcalf. Fast-paced Share+Tell presentations will highlight the diverse works of more than 20 symposium attendees, and special sessions will be dedicated to K-12 STEAM education.

Symposium participants will also co-create a large outdoor inflatable sculpture with Pneuhaus, a design collective co-founded by Matthew Muller (BFA 14 Furniture Design) and August Lehrecke (BFA 14 Furniture Design) that works within the fields of spatial design, temporary structures and contemporary art.

Participants will enjoy tours of both the Arthur Loeb Design Science Teaching Collection and RISD’s Edna Lawrence Nature Lab, where the collection is housed. The Loeb Collection features hundreds of 3D polyhedra and 2D patterns that inspire students and faculty to examine nature’s fundamental responses to design problems. The Nature Lab, with its collection of more than 80,000 natural history objects, books, visual resources, microscopes and digital workstations, serves as an invaluable research facility for the RISD community.

Space Weaving, a new exhibition will also be on view. The show will feature the work of sculptor Dennis Dreher, a colleague of R. Buckminster Fuller, whose lifetime achievement in design science will be recognized via the Ed Applewhite Award. The Synergetics Collaborative will also announce two new award categories, giving special recognition to select students and young professionals whose work exemplifies “comprehensive anticipatory design science” principles applied throughout the design process and solution to design problems. Recipients will be announced during the symposium.

The Synergetics Collaborative and the Nature Lab have teamed up to organize this symposium at RISD since 2007. This year, the RISD and Brown STEAM student groups as well as the RISD Biomimicry Club will participate, lending their energy, talents and enthusiasm to the event.

The Design Science Symposium is an interdisciplinary educational event based on the work of mathematicians, scientists, engineers, artists, architects and designers. It provides a forum for sharing knowledge between specialized disciplines and recognizing their inherent connections and increased strength when considered as a whole.

Registration is open now http://designscience.risd.edu. Fees are:
$75 students (RISD students and faculty can register to attend free of charge)
$150 K-12 educators
$225 early bird registration (ONLY UNTIL MARCH 14)
$275 full registration
$295 at-the-door registration
Participating K–12 educators will receive a Certificate of Participation.