Past Program

Ghana: Design Collaboration in Ghana

Students will work with Ghanaians in the Kokrobitey Institute in Ghana to develop a series of objects that utilize local materials, recyclables, and natural substances, and that provide sustainable economic potential for local communities.

At-A-Glance

What
Wintersession Travel Course
Where
  • Kokrobitey Institute, Ghana
When
Winter 2010

Course Dates: Jan 4, 2010 — Feb 10, 2010

Who
Open to RISD students, Brown University students
Faculty
Academic Credits
6
Department
  • Furniture
Course Numbers
  • FURN 2452
Cost
$354

Includes accommodation, field trips, local transportation, all meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance.

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Full Course Description

Students will work with Ghanaians in the Kokrobitey Institute in Ghana to develop a series of objects that utilize local materials, recyclables, and natural substances, and that provide sustainable economic potential for local communities. Students will engage in studio prototype making, augmenting their understanding of the dynamic local culture through a series of field trips and lectures to artist studios, local cultural sites, performances, and natural environments. Kokrobitey Institute’s Mission is: “to offer study programs and implement local and sustainable development projects, focused in Environmental Studies, Art and Design that view these disciplines through the lenses of the cultural, social, historical and natural resources of Ghana”. Students will meet at RISD for the first week to engage in a preparatory process for approaching the challenge that “design for development” processes entail, as well as to gain orientation to cultural factors, travel considerations, living arrangements, and course expectations. Once in Ghana, we will work with the Institute Director and a team of Ghanaian artisans to develop products that can be made using hand techniques, basic woodworking, sewing, and print facilities. The intention is to make marketable products that utilize available materials in innovative ways, and that reflect cultural
sensibilities of the community. RISD students will develop a series of collaborative exercises that test a range of approaches to the design process based on shared cultural interaction. At the conclusion, everyone will oversee the production of at least one new product or design. Students will work collaboratively with Ghanaian artists, craftsmen and students, building on insights gained from artisan demonstrations, workshops and field trips as well through presentations on Ghanaian History and Culture. Augmenting the studio work, students will visit the local natural resources with a rainforest walk, experience the cultural wealth of local dance and music performances, and the contextual references of historical sites with visits to a former slave station. The course is built around studio work, lectures, workshops, field trips and a community service project , all grounded in issues of environmental sustainability and recycling. Students will enjoy the Institute’s residential facility, which provides a dynamic forum for study and quiet introspection; insuring a unique, personal experience that refines one’s understanding of what it means to be a world citizen. The teaching faculty includes accomplished Ghanaian lecturers, professional artists, traditional drummers and dancers as well as resource persons from the local village.

Program Details

Wintersession Travel Courses are open to all RISD + Brown University students. To apply for a Wintersession Travel Course, you must:

  • attend an infosession with faculty (general or course-specific)
  • have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 at the time of application (Note: Students seeking exception to this academic policy should contact the Registrar at registrar@risd.edu with any questions.)
  • be in good standing in terms of conduct and finances
  • First year students must provide approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies as part of their applications.
  • Brown University students are eligible to apply, but priority will be given to RISD students.

Per Student Financial Service requirements, students who plan to travel on school-sponsored trips must first pay their student account in full. Students with an account balance are ineligible for travel and may forfeit any funds already used to book travel arrangements. Contact Student Financial Services at sfs@risd.edu with any questions.

Co-Requisite Courses

Space available for ten Furniture majors and eight non-majors. Permission of instructor required.

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1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

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