Past Program

RISD in Rome: Sensing The City: Augmented Interaction with the City of Rome


Summer Studies Travel Course
  • Hoedspruit, South Africa
Summer 2019

Course Dates: Jun 16, 2019 — Jul 6, 2019

Open to RISD students, Brown University students, non-RISD students
Academic Credits
  • History, Philosophy, & Social Sciences

Includes tuition, accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance.

South Africa: Art and Science of Conservation
Hoedspruit, South Africa 2019
South Africa: Art and Science of Conservation
Hoedspruit, South Africa 2019
South Africa: Art and Science of Conservation
Hoedspruit, South Africa 2019

Full Course Description

This course is best suited for artists, designers, and science communicators interested in biodiversity studies, endangered species protection, and human-animal-environmental health interactions. Students in this three-week travel course to South Africa learn how to apply their art/design/science communication skills to improve conservation outcomes. They also gain a first-hand look at saving species from a problems/solutions perspective.

The course is led by zoological medicine veterinarian and RISD part-time faculty Dr. Lucy Spelman, the itinerary includes three days at the University of Pretoria Southern African Wildlife College near Kruger National Park, and two weeks at the Bushwise Field School near Makalali Private Game Reserve. The lead guide is Vaughan Jessnitz, biologist and senior trainer at Bushwise. A RISD teaching assistant provide art instruction and critical review.

Students have a rare opportunity to hear from a variety of experts about some of South Africa’s most pressing wildlife problems:

  • habitat destruction by elephants
  • poaching and illegal wildlife trade of pangolins and rhinos
  • wildlife poisoning, especially of lions and vultures

Students select from among these conservation challenges, explore the problem in depth, and collaborate to produce original works of art or design that inspire conservation action. The results be shared with local artists during “art exchange day” and serve as a major project for course credit. Skills gained include analyzing, collecting, interpreting, and recording scientific data used to study and monitor wildlife populations; observing, sketching, and photographing wild animals, plants, and landscapes; teamwork; practice visualizing and communicating science. Students are also expected to create an artist archive of photographs, notes, sketches, sound recordings, and videos for future inspiration.

Program Details

Full requirements for eligibility

If you are a RISD student currently enrolled in any year/department and you have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 at the time of registration, you are eligible for registration. Note: Students seeking exception to this academic policy should contact the Registrar at with any questions.

If you are a college student currently enrolled in another art/design college or institution around the world, or a professional practicing in the field, you are also eligible to register for any RISD Global Summer Study.

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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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