September 20-22, 2019
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Programming will take place at several locations, including:
the Metcalf Auditorium at the Chace Center (20 N. Main Street);
the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab (13 Waterman Street);
the Fleet Library at RISD (15 Westminister Street);
Old Library in College Building (236 Benefit Street);
20 Washington Place Auditorium (20 Washington Place)

Friday, September 20 Saturday, September 21, Sunday, September 22


Chace Center—RISD Museum
Chace Center—RISD Museum
Morning Coffee and Pasteries
Chace Center—RISD Museum
Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Peter Dean
President, SNEC & Faculty, Furniture Design Department, RISD

Kent Kleinman
Provost, RISD
Chace Center—RISD Museum
Keynote Presentation: Michael Ben-Eli, Ph.D.

Watch Livestream Here

Design for Sustainability

Michael Ben-Eli, Ph.D. is founder of the Sustainability Laboratory, established in order to develop and demonstrate groundbreaking approaches to sustainability practices, expanding prospects and producing positive, life affirming impacts on people and ecosystems in all parts of the world.

Prior to launching The Lab, Ben-Eli pioneered applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Program, the Global Environment Facility, and others. In recent years, he has focused his work primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development, and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future.

Ben-Eli is author of the widely acclaimed Five Core Principles of Sustainability. He has been the driving force behind developing The Lab’s current flagship project, Project Wadi Attir, and is leading development of The Lab as a world-wide network of advanced research, development and education centers, based at different ecological zones. In 2016, he was inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and recognized with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ben-Eli graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on projects involving research on advanced structural systems and exploration of issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.
Chace Center—RISD Museum
Featured Presentation: Sara Jensen Carr

Watch Livestream Here

Water is Wealth: Reimagining watershed urbanism in O’ahu, Hawai’i

Each Hawaiian island can be understood through its ahupua’a, a land division system primarily based on watersheds but also relating to tribal divisions and agricultural trade. Traces of these boundaries still exist through place markers and development patterns, but their use as socio-ecological systems have all but disappeared, particularly on the heavily urbanized island of O’ahu. Although rarely correlated, this erasure has had vast implications for food security and public health in Hawai’i. This talk discusses how local activism and design speculation have sought to restore the ahupua’a, and how we can extrapolate what we have learned in Hawai’i and apply these conclusions to other coastal cities at risk.
Chace Center—RISD Museum
Featured Presentation: Charlotte McCurdy

Watch Livestream Here

Speak to the Mammal: Making Existential Threats more Tractable through Design

A raincoat is not going to judge you. How do we open up space for new conversations on overwhelming challenges where we feel stuck? How do we give more people agency to build paths to livable futures?
Charlotte McCurdy harnesses the creative power of the personal, the small, and the quotidian in reframing existential threats. Her experimental provocations become focal points for building common vocabulary and mutual respect, while combining handcraft with biotechnology. The result is an increased salience and connection with previously paralyzing topics.

Join Charlotte as she shares celebrated and emerging work in the fields of climate change and nuclear disarmament and catch the bug of her passion for the potential in our human nature.


*Wayfinders will help direct you to session locations and can refer you to accessible entry points*
Different Locations TBD

Concurrent Breakout Sessions and Workshops by Theme.

Session 1
Session 2

Chace Center—RISD Museum
Coffee and Snacks
Session 3
Session 4

Chace Center—RISD Museum
PANEL—David Kim, Michael Ben-Eli, Sara Jensen Carr, Alberto de Salvatierra
Land Strategies and Sustainability

Facilitated by David Kim

Watch Livestream Here

Chace Center—RISD Museum
Cosmic Fishing Award Presentation
Chace Center—RISD Museum
Evening Reception