Past Program

Canada: Haida Made

This course offers students an opportunity to study and explore the traditional knowledge and practices of the Haida in the Pacific Northwest of Canada. The Haida are a Native community particularly rich in creative culture and history.

At-A-Glance

What
Wintersession Travel Course
Where
  • Haida Gwaii, Canada
  • Vancouver, Canada
When
Winter 2018

Course Dates: Jan 3, 2018 — Feb 7, 2018
Travel Dates: Jan 3, 2018 — Jan 12, 2018

Who
Open to
Faculty
Academic Credits
3
Department
  • Furniture Design
Course Numbers
  • FURN-1543
Cost
$2650

Inculdes one-way airfare to US (Vancouver-Providence), domestic airfare to Old Masset, as well as accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group lunches in Vancouver, all meals in Old Masset, museum entrances, health and travel insurance.

About this Travel Course

This course offers students an opportunity to study and explore the traditional knowledge and practices of the Haida in the Pacific Northwest of Canada. The Haida are a Native community particularly rich in creative culture and history. They are especially known for their exceptionally high standards of craftsmanship. Using formline as the primary design element Haida artists work across many media including wood, textiles, precious metals, argillite as well as hand harvested forest materials. Students will spend the first twelve days of the course in Vancouver and in Old Masset, British Columbia, Canada working with curators at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and with Haida artists like Evelyn Vanderhoop, Reg Davidson, Michael Yahgulanaas, Lisa Hageman and April Churchill. The remaining days will be spent in the studios at RISD working on individual projects related to these engagements. Students will be asked to design and make artifacts or objects that represent a new vernacular balancing cultural preservation with forward-looking design thinking.

While the course aims to support the creation of high quality artistic work, it is as much about process and dialogue as final outcome. By navigating sensitive territories inherent in Native communities, human dynamics will play a critical role and the results will be shaped by cultural exchange and personal interaction. Through this process students will also gain knowledge about issues central to contemporary indigenous practice like authenticity and appropriation, preservation and innovation, museum collections and repatriation, and, the economic and cultural value of forest ecosystems.

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1:1 Advising Session

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