SEI faculty workshop | Teaching Science to Artists and Designers

RISD has long valued the symbiosis between the arts and sciences, and has been a leader in the movement to include cross-disciplinary perspectives from the sciences in the creative practice of artists and designers. Both the sciences and the arts encourage open-ended inquiry, creative problem finding, and creative problem solving. “The artist turns passionate explorations of the wonderful into works of art, and the scientist translates them into words and equations…but what drives innovation in science is inseparable from the elemental urge to express ourselves artistically” (Gurnon, et al. 2013). Today, the coupling of Art + Design with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math is leading to innovations that will transform our economy in the 21st century. In this workshop we will explore the commonalities between the sciences and the arts, discuss the goals of science education and examine best practices for teaching science to artists and designers.

Instructor Bio

Joanna Morris is a cognitive scientist interested in the role of language in the creation of art. She explores the benefits of linguistics understanding for playwrights, poets, storytellers, singers, musicians, writers and actors and the historical role of language in spoken-into-creation myths, public speech, poetry, song lyrics and proverbs. She is also interested in social cognition and how general cognitive processes can help us understand broad social phenomena, such as the ability to correctly attribute beliefs, goals and percepts to other people—a set of meta-representation abilities known as “theory of mind.” Her work has been published in Brain ResearchMemory & Cognition, the Journal of Memory and LanguageBrain and LanguageLanguage and Cognitive Processes and Psychophysiology.

Morris graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College as a psychology major and holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed a pre-doctoral fellowship from Penn’s Institute for Cognitive Science. She earned an M.Phil in theoretical linguistics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to teaching at RISD, she is a professor of cognitive science in the School of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College, where her work focuses on the cognitive processes that underlie reading. Her current research is focused on examining how complex words—words with multiple parts like sing-er and un-happy are represented in the mental dictionary.

Friday, February 28 at 8:30am to 10:00am

Teaching and Learning Lab in the Center for Social Equity & Inclusion
293 S. Main St., Providence, RI 02906

Event Type

SEI Event, SEI Workshop


Academic Affairs, SEI - Social Equity Inclusion Initiative

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Bryce DuBois

Bryce DuBois left a positive review Thursday, February 27, 2020

This was a wonderful workshop because Joanna provided space and time for us to meet each other, learn about science at Risd efforts and to talk about our ideas and challenges of teaching science at Risd.

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