If you want to learn from the masters, there’s no place like Rome. RISD’s oldest study abroad program invites a select group of juniors and seniors from all RISD departments to live and work in a 16th century palazzo steps away from Rome’s most famous and important historical and artistic sites. Led by a Chief Critic drawn from a rotating cast of RISD faculty, the program is multidisciplinary in nature and designed to appeal to a wide range of concentrations. Each semester, approximately 20 students witness thousands of years of Western art and architecture first hand, drawing from their experiences to develop and produce a final project. EHP is an opportunity to inhabit the life of an artist working independently in Rome — but with all of the support and resources that RISD has to offer.
EHP is meant to replicate the experience of an artistic residency, giving all RISD junior and senior students the freedom to create while offering RISD’s signature rigor and academic guidance.
Over the course of your semester, you’ll meet regularly with the Chief Critic, who will work closely with you to set goals and expectations for your independent project, and assess you as you move towards its completion. You’ll spend the bulk of your semester at work in your individual studio space in the 16 century palazzo. With 18/25 students from a wide range of departments working on unique projects in the same space, EHP is a rare opportunity for you to engage, collaborate with, learn from, and critique people you’d never interact with in class otherwise. EHP’s multi-disciplinary nature is encoded into the fabric of the program - it arises organically, as students working together in the Palazzetto Cenci absorb and are inspired by one another’s work.
Beyond your studio practice, you'll have twice a week an Art History course led by the RISD Faculty and program Director Ezio Genovesi. In addition to your weekly class, you’ll also embark every Friday morning on a2-hour walking tour of Rome. You’ll spend a week on an intensive Art History tour of a number of other Italian cities, also guided by Ezio.
During the semester, you’ll also take an Italian language and culture course twice a week, designed to increase your conversational ability and comfort navigating the city - and acquaint you with the rich tradition of Italian culture and civilization.
And the rest of the time is yours to fill - visiting museums and galleries, wandering the streets with a sketchbook, exploring Rome’s open-air markets, cooking with your classmates, dipping into Rome’s rich contemporary arts scene, participating in the Palazzo’s evening events. Many students even take time to intern or volunteer at local studios and arts organizations. This freedom to explore, learn, absorb, and create on your own terms will culminate in a final project, the fruit of your semester’s work and experiences.
Since EHP’s inception in the 1960, Palazzetto Cenci has been the focal point of every RISD student’s experience in Rome. A historic site in its own right, the palazzetto dates from the 16th century and was once inhabited by the notorious Cenci family. Today, replete with 26 private studios, dormitories, common rooms, 3 kitchens, a darkroom and print shop, a library, and a gallery, a tool room it is at once a home, a workplace, and an event space. Students live, work and cook for themselves in the Cenci.
Most importantly, it is a stepping stone to the city itself. Located in the heart of Rome’s Centro Storico , the palazzo is within walking distance of the Roman Forum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon, as well as untold museums, galleries, and contemporary art spaces. From its doors, you can easily access everything from ancient Roman columns to Renaissance canvasses to current exhibits and installations.
A number of people work alongside EHP students during the semester: the Director, the Chief Critic, and the Resident Fellow, all aided by an administrative team and a resident assistant.
Ezio Genovesi, Program Director
Ezio has been the liberal art faculty and the director of EHP for the last 20 years. For students who want to deeply understand the city, its art, and its inhabitants, Ezio is an invaluable resource. In addition to his administrative duties, he teaches Art History and leads weekly walking tours of Rome. “You can be a tourist and run around Rome and see the surface, or you can be a scholar and an artist and a researcher and get under the surface, and that’s where Ezio takes you,” says Dan O’Neill ’01, who attended EHP as a student in 1999 and later served as EHP’s first resident fellow in 2008.
Chief critique, RISD Faculty from Providence campus
Every year, a different RISD faculty member is appointed for the upcoming academic year in Rome. The Chief Critic is responsible for EHP’s arts curriculum, advises and guides students in the development of their studio work and consults, along with the Director, on travels and internships and supervises the group’s general well-being.
Leslie Hirst, Associate Professor in Experimental and Foundation Studies, is the current Chief Critic in-residence for the academic year 2017/2018.
Recent chief critics have included Angela Dufresne (RISD Painting), and Gabriel Feld (RISD Architecture).
EHP Resident Fellow, RISD alumnus and former EHP student
The students are also guided by the Resident Fellow, a former EHP student, appointed for the entire academic year. As an alumnus of EHP, the resident fellow is already intimately familiar with the program and its demands. Fellows provide both artistic and personal support and guidance for students during their time in Rome, maintaining their own studio practice while participate in crits, field trips, and all other learning activities. Each fellow serves for the entire academic year. Isabella McCormick is the current Resident Fellow in-residence for 2017/2018.
Guest artists, criticts and lecturers
Throughout the year, an active roster of visiting critics, leaders in the fields of art, design, and architecture in Europe participate in reviews and studio visits with students. In the last 2 years, artist as William Kentridge and Shahzia Sikander collaborated with EHP.
FALL SEMESTER: 16 weeks, 15 credits - 1st week of September - 3rd week of December
During the first week of the fall semester, students move into the Palazzetto and undergo orientation and introductory training. The academic components of the program begin the following week, which consist of the core Studio Elective (6 credits), the Art history course (3 credits, 2hrs, 4hr/week including 2hr city tour), and Italian (3 credits, 4hr/week).
The week-long trip, which moves beyond Rome to explore contemporary Italian art and culture in a number of other cities, occurs sometime during the first half of the semester. Week 8 marks the halfway point of the semester; students meet for a mid-term review. The liberal arts courses and the first component of the Studio Elective finish by week 11. During the following week, students are encouraged to explore other cities in Italy and beyond in order to gain inspiration and material for their studio concentration. They return to campus by week 13 for their Studio Concentration (3 credits), continuing and completing the work they began the earlier Studio Elective. During the last week of the program, students undergo the final review of their independent projects, followed by an exhibition and opening of the projects at the Palazzetto Cenci.
SPRING SEMESTER: 20 weeks, 18 credits - 2nd week of January - 4th week of May
The Spring semester combines the credits of wintersession and the regular semester. The general structure of the semester is the same, but the program runs for 20 weeks rather than 16, and the Studio Concentration counts for 6 credits instead of 3.
The EHP semester program’s costs are:
Standard RISD tuition: one-half college tuition and one-half student activity fee
GeoBlue Worldwide travel medical & international insurance: $16.65/a week (rate for 2017/18)
Housing: $6,425 (based on accommodation rate on campus for 2017/18)
Administrative fee: $10
- Meals, airfare to Rome, Student Visa (approximately $50-$60), local transportation, and art materials are all out of pocket expenses.
There are need-based scholarship funds awarded by the EHP committee to selected students once they’re accepted in the program. There are also many types of work study opportunities at the Cenci available for all EHP students.
EHP is open to RISD junior and senior students from all departments, and Brown University juniors and seniors concentrating in Fine/Visual Arts. Juniors can attend the program during the fall or spring semesters, while only the fall semester is open to seniors.
Applications to EHP must be submitted during the semester prior to attendance. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 to be eligible; they must remain in good academic and conduct standing up until, and throughout, their time on the program.
Prior to applying, all students are required to attend the information sessions held on campus. Notifications of these sessions are posted on the RISD calendar and promoted by RISD Global both on campus and through our website.
All students must consult their Academic Advisor and Department Head to ensure that all required credits will be met prior to graduation. Approval from both faculty is required in order for the application to go forward. Note that English and HPSS credits are not part of the EHP curriculum.
The entire application process will be completed using SlideRoom. You will be able to upload, request and submit all required documents through SlideRoom. Sign in to Slideroom at the following link to submit your application
The application process consists of the following documents:
1. Statement of purpose (max 500 words)
a. Please indicate why you are a strong candidate for the RISD in Rome: EHP and the reason for your interest in working within Rome, Italy and Europe.
b. Demonstrate your commitment and interest in interdisciplinary approaches to studio work.
c. Communicate how you image this independent studio-based program benefitting the development of your art and design practice.
d. Speak to your ability to succeed within a studio environment, with site-specific resources and in a multidisciplinary context, beyond the reliance on particular equipment and/or materials.
2. Two letters of recommendation from RISD Faculty you have had within the last year (requested and sent through Reference section in Slideroom)
3. Approval from Department Head and Academic Advisor (requested and sent through Reference section in Slideroom)
Note: if your Department Head and Academic Advisor are the same person, both approvals will be sent as one. The Department Head/Academic Advisor cannot provide a faculty recommendation.
an agreement setting the standard for appropriate behavior. Scan the signed form and upload through Slideroom.
5. A selection of 10-15 images of your work
These images may reflect projects you would like to pursue while in Rome, or your strongest, most recent major and non major-related work. Include descriptions of each image, the work’s title, medium, and dimensions.
6. Scanned image of your passport photo page
Fall 2018/19 deadline for EHP applicants is April 2nd, 2018. Students will be notified of a decision approximately mid-April.
The approval process
All students applying for EHP will be reviewed and selected by The European Honor Program Faculty Committee. As part of the selection process, the committee pays particular attention to your statement of interest and portfolio. The aim of the committee is to bring together a diverse and cross-departmental group of students each semester.