Congratulations to MA student Chris Cohoon on his selection as a 2016 Maharam Fellow. While developing a project for a social enterprise in Nepal, Chris discovered the power of fine art and design skills as problem solving and community building tools. Chrisʼ time in RISD's MA in Art + Design Education program has allowed him to research design thinking for creative community development. As a RISD Maharam Fellow, Chris will be building an Empathic Design-centered leadership program for US Marines and high school students stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Participants will learn creative processes emphasizing empathy, collaboration, conflict resolution, and problem solving through researching, designing, and manufacturing stand up paddleboards. The curriculum developed during this program will be available as a leadership tool and adapted for use by organizations working with underserved communities around the world.
Each summer selected students from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are awarded internship opportunities through the Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design. Starting in 2012, the New York-based textile company Maharam agreed to generously fund these fellowship opportunities for RISD students through 2016.The Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design provides stipends of up to $5,000 each for select internships with a government agency or nonprofit organization. Students must research and find their own placements and submit detailed proposals at the beginning of the year outlining how their internship experience will highlight and strengthen the role of visually acute critical thinkers and problem solvers in helping to improve public policy and tackle large social issues.
Maharam supports the STEAM Fellowship program because, like RISD, the company believes in the economic progress and breakthrough innovation that comes from the combination of art and design with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – that STEM + Art = STEAM. The RISD/Maharam partnership supports the college’s broader STEM to STEAM initiative, which advocates for long-term societal embrace of the arts and design to create a future that is both culturally and economically vibrant.