Past Program

Hawai’i: Art & Science of Conservation

This immersive interdisciplinary Wintersession Travel Course based on the island of Hawai’i gave students the opportunity to explore the historical and current connections between art, conservation, and local and Indigenous environmental practices.


Wintersession Travel Course
  • Holualoa, HI
  • Kona, HI
Winter 2023

Estimated dates—final dates to be announced.

Course Dates: Jan 8, 2023 — Jan 24, 2023

Open to RISD students, Brown University students

Minimum 2.5 GPA required. Open to first year students with approval from the Dean of EFS.

  • Art
  • Design
  • Craft
  • Sustainability
  • Conservation
Academic Credits
  • Liberal Arts Elective
  • Interdisciplinary Studies

Estimated cost—final cost to be announced.

Includes accommodation, all meals, field trips, local transportation, museum entrances, health and travel insurance. Airfare not included.

Hawai’i: Art & Science of Conservation
Holualoa, HI

About this course

Course Description

Students practiced the Hawaiian concept of “kilo” or place-based learning through careful and close observation and examination. The course was co-taught by Dr. Lucy Spelman and artist Professor Andrea Dezsö in partnership with a local (Holualoa) arts and environmental education organization, the Donkey Mill Art Center. Daily activities included lectures and demonstrations, walks-in-nature, and art-making-in-nature. Students learned traditional approaches to nature-based crafts, water use, and farming from local experts. They visited various locations to observe Hawaii’s “land division system” and explored several unique natural areas. They also studied the island’s unique biodiversity, biogeography and ecology; learned about the forces that have driven many species to extinction and created opportunities for others (such as climate change, deforestation, invasive species, and pollution); and, considered solutions—both actual and potential. Guided by a “Hawaiian sense of place,” students made regular entries in their field notebooks and documented their experiences through a combination of writing and art-making. For their major project, students created an original work of art or design for “Art Exchange Day” at the Center.

RISD Students Explore Unique Ecology of Hawai’i Island

Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

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Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

View details

More Info

Application + Registration

The entire application process will be completed using an online application portal. You will be able to upload, request and submit all required documents there. Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

RISD Students

Unless otherwise noted on the course page, all Wintersession Travel Courses are open to students in any year of study. Please check the course pages on this website carefully to learn about any restrictions specific to your chosen travel course. In all cases, RISD first-year students enrolled in Experimental & Foundation Studies must provide approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies as part of their applications.

GPA Requirement: Exception to Academic Policy

If your current cumulative GPA is 2.5 or above, you are eligible for registration. RISD students seeking an exception to the GPA requirement academic policy should follow the instructions set by the Registrars’ Office.

Brown University Students

If you are a Brown University student with a GPA of 2.5 and up, you are eligible to apply. Admission for Wintersession Travel Courses is highly selective and preference will be given to RISD students. Please read carefully through the application materials and steps above to make sure you are preparing your application to the best of your ability.

As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession Travel Courses until the travel is confirmed, which happens no later than one week after the final Wintersession Travel Course payment period.

In cases where Wintersession Travel Courses do not reach minimum capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession Travel Course registration period. In case of cancellation, all payments will be refunded in full. Any cost incurred for travel reservations in such situations is the participant’s sole responsibility.

It is not possible for a student to drop a Wintersession Travel Course via the standard Add/Drop process after it has commenced. In the case of unforeseen and extenuating circumstances (and only after students have spoken with the faculty lead and RISD Global for approval to withdraw from the program), students should be aware that no refund will be issued.

RISD Wintersession Travel Courses follow the RISD withdrawal policy for off-campus global learning programs

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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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