12.15.20
Jessica Helfand + Ellen McGirt | Audio

S8E10: Rosanne Somerson


Rosanne Somerson is president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Somerson, who trained as a furniture designer at RISD before joining the faculty and then the admins, believes that the rigorous training of artists and designers gives them valuable skills, whether it’s running an art school or exploring new ideas for a big company:
We do some kind of sponsored studio projects with corporations. And we were trying to figure out the team of students who would take on the research endeavor. And one of the students was a printmaker. And this was something that had nothing to do with imagery or printmaking or anything that would typically be considered in the realm of printmaking. 

And the faculty member who proposed the student said, "You know, printmakers can instantly see everything in reverse. And it's a mindset." 

And I thought, what a fascinating idea to bring someone into a research project who can see backwards — or not backwards, just in reverse. So it's the sense of thinking about the perceptual nature of artists and designers and bringing those at the top level, along with the other leadership disciplines, to make something that has a fertile ability to create something new or to undo something old.

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Posted in: Design of Business | Business of Design, Education



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