January 29, 2013

Shared Voices: The 2013 RISD Presidential Speaker Series

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
Rhode Island School of Design presents its second season of Shared Voices: The RISD Presidential Speaker Series, kicking off 2013 with special guest speaker Hal Abelson on Wednesday, February 20, at 7:30pm in the RISD Auditorium [Canal Walkway at Market Square, Providence]. This event is open to the public free of charge, but advance registration is necessary and available on a first-come, first-served basis at offers a forum for welcoming some of the most expansive thinkers of our time to RISD. Each is a master of his or her domain but is also ready to transcend it, sharing our community’s belief in the fruitful exchange of ideas that happens when artists, designers, activists, technologists, and social scientists and other scholars come together to learn from one another. Faculty co-hosts welcome each speaker to campus and facilitate interaction with students prior to the main event—the public conversation in the evening.As part of the first Shared Voices series last winter, RISD welcomed bioethicist Juan Enriquez, particle physicist Lisa Randall and co-founder of Wired magazine Kevin Kelly for three inspiring evenings of open conversations. You can view their talks online at

This year President Maeda worked with faculty members to select two special guest speakers for the 2013 series:

February 20: Hal Abelson, an award-winning MIT professor and computer scientist who, as founding director of Creative Commons and related organizations, is a driving force behind the worldwide movement to democratize access to intellectual resources. Co-hosted by Assistant Professor of Digital + Media Shona Kitchen and Assistant Professor of Painting Kevin Zucker.

April 20: Dan Arielya psychologist, social scientist and professor at Duke University who is best known for a series of unusual behavioral experiments shared through such recent bestsellers as Predictably IrrationalThe Upside of Irrationality and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty. Co-hosted by Professor of Illustration Jean Blackburn and Interior Architecture Critic Daniel Hewett.

“Part of what inspires me about working at a world-class academic institution is being around others who are similarly energized by new ideas,” notes RISD President John Maeda. “Last year’s Shared Voices series revealed some of the deep questions that both artists and scientists confront in the name of progress, and some of the similarities and differences in how they face them. I’m delighted there is a continued interest from our academic leadership in bringing new thinkers to RISD to spark conversation. With their help, we have selected two inspiring speakers who will not only offer fresh perspectives, but whose own work will benefit from an immersive campus experience and exposure to various points of view at RISD.” 

More information about each speaker and information on registration can be found at

About RISD
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Recently ranked #1 in Business Insider‘s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools, approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning—one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Required courses in the liberal arts provide an essential complement to studio work, enabling graduates to become critical and informed individuals eager to engage with the world. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum of Art help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit or

Media contact
Jaime Marland, Rhode Island School of Design: [email protected] / T 401 427 6954



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