The Current Fellows
BFA 2021 | Interior Architecture
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yunni Cho provides design as a solution to solve socio economic problems within the existing space. Yunni is a dual degree student at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). At RISD, Yunni is majoring in Interior Architecture, practicing adaptive reuse. At Brown University, Yunni is double concentrating in urban studies and cognitive neuroscience. With her unique combination of degrees, she hopes to explore the interdisciplinary nature of design and question the boundary of space through its history and perception. Through the Maharam Fellowship, Yunni is hoping to apply her design skills towards solving the problem of global light pollution, therefore developing new ways to approach sustainable lighting.
MID 2021 | Industrial DesignChetan hails from Nashik, India where he completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has worked for five years on Lighter-Than-Air & Unmanned Aerial Systems research & design at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India. He is a hands-on experimentalist who enjoys inter-disciplinary, systems-based design. He believes sustainability should be central to design practice rather than an end goal. Design for him is critical, catalyzing and provocative, a superpower with a world of responsibility. This summer Chetan will be working with Panvel Municipal Corporation, India, to develop a problem identification and establishment framework, as a tool to comprehend Sensory Overload, its multi-dimensional attributes and their interrelations, in select public spaces in the city of Panvel. This work will be an attempt at introducing Design/Systems Thinking in the corporation’s process of developing overload mitigation measures and policies for public spaces across the city. Chetan wishes to explore the complex, systemic and real-world problem of Sensory Overload to understand Strategy/Systems Design better.
MA 2021 | Global Arts and CulturesJoining the inaugural Global Arts and Cultures MA program, Holly Gaboriault returned to RISD to expand upon her ongoing work exploring multivocality and layers of process in history, design, and cultural narratives. Holding a BFA in Illustration, storytelling is a vital thematic element in her work spanning design, art direction, curation, documentary filmmaking, and interdisciplinary production. Coinciding with the women’s suffrage centennial, Holly will work with the Rhode Island Historical Society researching a multimedia archive, including film, documents, and textiles to connect diverse stories of women who pioneered civic and cultural leadership in early Rhode Island history. This project continues her work exploring hidden histories that provide context, leadership of thought, and empowerment where ideas and innovation grow and expand with stories that cross cultures, religions and generations. Crafting contemporary relevance for the future within the contexts of the past, through this Fellowship Holly intends to activate the archives through projection, film, and contemporary interviews to produce a multiphonic platform illustrating how people contribute to a place, how they shape it, and how it ultimately shapes them in extraordinary ways.
MFA 2020 | Digital MediaKevin Hubbard is a research-based transdisciplinary visual artist, designer, systems thinker, educator, and meditator who advocates for personal, social, and global sustainability. An alum of RISD, Emily Carr University, The Cooper Union, and Vancouver Film School, over the summer of 2020 Kevin will investigate the unique circumstances surrounding the Yukon Ice Patches in Canada’s westernmost territory. Thousands of years old, the Ice Patches are windblown snow accumulations that are now melting—due to climate change—and are revealing exceptionally preserved Indigenous archaeological artifacts, some more than 9000 years old. He will liaise with the Government of Yukon (Heritage Resources Unit), six self-governing Yukon First Nations, local industry members, NPO arts and community organizations, and UNESCO delegates. He will further these groups’ efforts to research, document, and educate the public about the Yukon Ice Patches, their cultural, economic, and climatological significance, and he will critically examine their groundbreaking consensus-based and collaborative working relationships.
MA 2020 | Teaching+Learning in Art and DesignThe Zapatista ideal of a “world where many worlds fit” is at the heart of Aisha Jandosova’s practice as a designer, educator and human. In her work, Aisha explores how intergenerational making in public can challenge the ways that older adults’ lives are pushed out of sight. As 2020 Maharam STEAM Fellow, Aisha will design and facilitate Her Story Press, a feminist publishing project at Federal Hill House senior center in Providence, that will engage older women in art-making, storytelling and discussion, and culminate in a collaboratively-produced zine about their lives, in the past and present. By placing low-income, older women of color in positions of artists and creators, providing these women with creative means and, via self-publishing, a platform for voicing their opinions and personal stories, through Her Story Press, Aisha hopes to make space for individual and collective wellbeing, empowerment, and visibility for this multiply marginalized community.
BFA 2021 | PaintingOriginally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Eli Kauffman is a fine artist who will be collaborating with the non-profit organization Wasatch Community Gardens, in their home-town. The fellowship centers on a public art project designed to increase community engagement in an overlooked area of the city. Building on a shared understanding of permaculture, Eli will co-produce a mural with members of Wasatch Community Gardens’ urban farm, a unique garden location centered on providing job training for women experiencing homelessnes. Additionally, using their experience with curation and the local arts scene, Eli will advocate for the finished work to be integrated into a Salt Lake Gallery Stroll event. Through this process Eli strives to provide an artistic outlet for these women, while also using their painting education to represent a marginalized community. The public art project in combination with the publicity of the Gallery Stroll will increase community involvement and blur the lines between artistic and agricultural spaces.
BFA 2022 | Industrial DesignKiki Nyagah is currently studying Industrial Design at RISD and Cognitive Science at Brown University. Having built a multi-disciplinary career that spans across NGO programming, business development, and product management, she is interested in expanding her practice into User Research and Multi-channel Service System Design for technology futures. Kiki will be serving as a user researcher and design strategist for Africa Economic Summit (AES). Alongside the AES’ team of engineers, researchers, business strategists, and developers, Kiki will be harnessing the initiatives of the cross-disciplinary team to deploy a high traffic digital product system that can support global networking. Sharing the vision of creating stronger systems to connect the world to economic potentials on the African Continent, Kiki is proud to be architecting and deploying specialized value-driven digital ecosystems that dare to reimagine socio-economic infrastructure for the 6th wave of technology
MA 2021 | Nature Culture Sustainability StudiesPossessing a background in industrial design, urban agriculture and environmental education directed to young children, Valeria Ramirez Ensastiga is currently studying a MA in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies. Valeria has worked as a curricular and product designer on several projects whose main objective was to develop local communities and to promote a healthy lifestyle by collaborating with schools, cultural centers and urban gardens. Driven by her passion for food sovereignty, Valeria will collaborate with The Hunger Project (THP) Mexico, an organization that fights against malnutrition in indigenous communities of Mexico, by training women and young adults to become leaders and empowering them through the construction of a self-sufficient community. Deploying her skills as a designer and a sustainable scholar, Valeria will develop educational materials to support the Environmental and Climate Education programs that THP fosters with the objectives of improving the well-being of the communities she will work with and also building resilience against future threats from climate change such as droughts or the loss of crop diversity.
MFA 2021 | Digital Media
Hannah will work with Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery (PCCC), an organization in Gainesville, Florida that maintains protected land, offers the highest standard green funerals, and allows loved-ones to participate directly in grave digging and burial of the deceased. They will organize presentations to increase awareness that PCCC offers affordable, environmentally supportive, and ceremonially diverse funerals. Hannah will give presentations based on learnings from the organization and their past artworks which involved guided death reflections. Additionally, they will conduct artistic research comparing the burial practices at the cemetery with those desired by her family. Hannah is from Humboldt County, CA and earned their BFA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. In 2016, they moved to New York where they worked on art pieces including The Benefits of Contemplating Death and the Descent Experience. They are currently an MFA candidate in RISD’s Digital + Media program where they are researching the interconnection between death, disintegration, and their family’s connection to their home. They have exhibited in LA, NYC, Providence, and Boston, and have co-curated a show at Boston Cyberarts.
BFA 2020 | SculptureSatya is driven by the urgency of those who are excluded from current structures of power and justice. As an artist, filmmaker, and activist, Satya’s work is informed by the realities of inequity that are both quotidian and unacceptable. Satya aspires to converge the practice of art, political advocacy, and activism in a way that can work to build futures that are independent of violence and inequity. As an intern, Satya is excited to learn about and support the work of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project to protect transgender and gender non-conforming peoples’ freedom to self-determination and safety. Working with the Movement Building Team and the Prisoner Advisory Committee, Satya is excited to offer skills in storytelling and data representation to collaborate on infrastructure that works towards a future of freedom of expression, safety, and freedom from mass incarceration for transgender and gender non-conforming people.