Past Program

Southern Africa | Art & Science of Conservation

This immersive interdisciplinary Wintersession Travel Course is for art and design students interested in exploring past and current efforts to conserve biodiversity in Southern Africa while also developing their communication and documentation skills.


Wintersession Travel Course
  • Hoedspruit, South Africa
  • Windhoek, Namibia
Winter 2024

Estimated dates—final dates to be announced.

Course Dates: Jan 7, 2024 — Jan 27, 2024

Open to RISD students, Brown University students

Minimum 2.5 GPA required. First year students are not eligible for this course.

  • Conservation
  • Sustainability
Program Partners

Bushwise Field Guides

Academic Credits
  • History, Philosophy, & Social Sciences
  • Illustration

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

South Africa: Art and Science of Conservation
Hoedspruit, South Africa 2018
South Africa: Art and Science of Conservation
Hoedspruit, South Africa 2018
South Africa: Art and Science of Conservation
Hoedspruit, South Africa 2018

About this course

Course Description

On location for two weeks in South Africa and one in Namibia, this course is co-taught by longtime RISD faculty members, artist Susan Doyle, Professor of Illustration, and scientist Dr. Lucy Spelman, Senior Lecturer in HPSS. Students will study the local biodiversity, how local people and visitors interact with nature, and how art, science, and traditional ecological knowledge influence and inform conservation decisions. Once back on campus, students spend two weeks on a final art/design project that explores the concept of conservation based on their African experience. In addition to a completed work of art or design, the final project will include 1) an artist statement that describes the student’s artistic aim/inspiration/process and 2) an annotated essay/summary of the scientific references and literary influences that informed their art. This is a 6 credit course; 3 LAEL credits and 3 Illustration credits.

Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

View details

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.

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

Office bw resized

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.

Schedule an Appointment


No upcoming events for this program at this time.


No announcements for this program.