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The Current Fellows

The 2015 Maharam STEAM Fellows are working in arenas not typically associated with art and design students and have the opportunity to effect real change in policy and practice in local and global organizations and communities. As part of the program, fellows blog about their experiences throughout the summer and make a final report to Maharam about what they discovered through their internships.
Kate Aitchison | United States Geologic Survey / Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center
MFA 2016 | Printmaking 
Growing up on the Colorado Plateau and working as a river guide, artist, and environmental educator for the past seven years, Kate Aitchison has used her variety of experiences to make connections between her art and her environment.  For Aitchison, it is a desire to further the conservation dialogue and engage communities in protecting the environment that inspires her to explore how environmental science can inspire her work. This summer, Aitchison will work with the United States Geologic Survey in Flagstaff, AZ to develop imagery describing the ecological systems along the Colorado River corridor for scientific and creative work. She will also work in conjunction with USGS and partner organization Grand Canyon Youth, to reintroduce art into developed science programs for youth river trips on the San Juan and Colorado Rivers.
Lyza Baum | Class Act
BFA 2016 | Textiles
As an emerging artist, Lyza believes that textile design can empower communities, create solutions for environmental concerns, and drive economic development. This summer, Lyza is partnering with fellow Textile Design major Emilie Jehng, to investigate whether or not natural dye processes can be both environmentally sustainable and economically viable. They will be traveling to Bohol, Philippines to collaborate with Class Act and Tubigon Multipurpose Weaving Cooperative to identify indigenous dye plants and incorporate natural dye processes into the weaver’s textiles. She hopes that this initiative will inspire communities to reevaluate and commune with their natural land resources in a respectful and resourceful way. In 2014 Lyza joined DESINE-Lab and helped compile research for a sustainable textile initiative for war widows from the civil war stricken region of Sri Lanka. She is also co-founder of Floating Garden, a public textile installation fostering community engagement and highlight the importance of green space in Central Falls, a city recovering from bankruptcy. Lyza was born and raised in Rhode Island. She has a deep love and respect for nature, cozy sweaters, and fortune cookies.
Joseph Fellows | Great Sand Dunes National Park
BFA 2016 | Sculpture 
Raised in Wisconsin, Joseph Fellows is concluding his Junior year of his Sculpture BFA. During the past two summers he has spent August driving through the continental U.S. taking photographs and experiencing the American Landscape. Twice he found himself in Southern Colorado in the San Luis Valley taking pictures in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Since then he has searched for a means to contribute to the monumental task of preserving the natural spaces that we have left. In the summer of 2015 Joseph will be returning to the Dunes to demonstrate the capabilities 3D scanning has to offer the National Parks, as well as other natural spaces, in order to help record and preserve the fragile resources within their boundaries. He will be working to create a scanned archive of both natural and cultural objects both digitally and physically through 3D printing. These archives will enable him to investigate how this technology can be a tool for both artists and naturalists to reconsider how the natural world can find it’s way into places like studios and classrooms.
Harini Gona | SaveLife Foundation
BFA 2016 | Furniture
Harini is interested in using design towards socio economic change. Through this fellowship, she will be promoting public transportation as a strong direction towards decreasing traffic accidents, as an increased level of safety in a society, further profits an economy. In her home country, India, she will be researching the current safety measures established in the transportation sector in India, to evaluate the cause of  an increasing number of transit based accidents. She will be working with SaveLife Foundation; a non-governmental organisation based in Delhi, that is a strong force working towards road safety both by training the police force and volunteers in post-accident response and helping draft laws to be presented in the parliament towards the same cause. This will help her develop a strong foundation and knowledge of the intricacies involved in influencing public policy in a country with diverse interests- and a strong participatory democracy, which she will use in the future to create an increased awareness of the importance of design in the transportation industry.
Emilie Jehng | Class Act
BFA 2016 | Textiles
This summer Emilie Jehng, in partnership with fellow Textiles major and friend, Lyza Baum, will be researching the economic and environmental feasibility of the natural dye process in Bohol, Philippines. Working with Class Act, Emilie and Lyza will explore dye plants indigenous to the island, and collaborate with the Tubigon Loomweavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative to develop avenues for naturally dyed fibers within the Co-Op’s woven fabrics.  She hopes that their project sparks initiative for the community to commune with available land resources, and further promotes the revitalization of local cottage industries in Bohol.  Emilie firmly believes in the ability of textiles to empower communities, create sustainable solutions spearheading environmental concerns, and to stimulate economic development. Originally from San Jose, California, Emilie Jehng is fond of indigo vats, seventy-degree weather, and popcorn.
Drew Ludwig | Telluride Arts District
MFA 2015 | Photography
Drew Ludwig is a regionalist, artist, activist, and mountain guide.  He has worked as a Creative Consultant for Patagonia, a Videography/Photography Assistant at National Geographic, and as a muralist specializing in large scale, ecologically-minded installations.  After completing his MFA in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, Drew will return to his hometown of Telluride, Colorado, to address a local housing crisis through the development of a quarterly newspaper, The Dumbsaint.  Utilizing art and design as methods of creative problem solving, the paper will provide Telluride with an alternative media voice, introducing political concerns through an absurdist visual sensibility while examining creative place-making and community ethos.  The Dumbsaint will engage Telluride locals in a generative public discourse with an aim to examine and improve the housing and cultural needs of the community.

Emily Winter | Envision Unlimited MFA 2015 | Textiles Emily will spend the summer in Chicago working with Envision Unlimited, a social services agency that serves adults with developmental disabilities. She will focus on the revitalization of a small, currently defunct, weaving mill owned by Envision. She will work with Envision’s clients to create a textile skill building curriculum which focuses on developing the skills needed to pursue individual creative projects and to earn income working for the weaving workshop. She will also scale up her weaving knowledge and learn how to run the industrial weaving equipment. The long-term goal is to develop a unique workshop model which fosters collaboration between artists, designers, and craftsmen regardless of markers of ability and disability. The Maharam STEAM Fellowship is supporting the first chapter of what will be an ongoing project centered on advocacy, community integration, and innovative incorporation of art and design into the social services.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. George Baum
    Jul 25 2015

    Great projects, great students

  2. Ellen Winsor
    Aug 10 2015

    Congratulations on your endeavors. I write from the island of Jamestown, RI and am interested in your projects for multiple reasons, so please be in touch via my email address used to register for commenting here. Also, I have a job posting at RISD’s ArtWorks involving our butterfly-shaped house (landmark house in architectural history, 1897, the original being in England). The ArtWorks listing is entitled, “Architectural update private residence; green energy, some Interior Design and some Landscape Architecture.” A fifth year RISD student (Architecture) designed the house with his professor signing off on the plans at the time. I welcome hearing from you and will explain more why. Best wishes! Wonderful humanitarian efforts you have conceived.


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