SOUTH AFRICA: ART AND SCIENCE OF CONSERVATION
Lucy Spelman (Faculty, RISD History, Philosophy, & the Social Sciences)
South Africa: Hoedspruit. June 15 - July 7, 2019 (3 weeks)
3 credits, RISD Liberal Arts Elective
For artists, designers, and science communicators interested in biodiversity studies, endangered species protection, and human-animal-environmental health interactions.
Students in this three-week travel course to South Africa will learn how to apply their art/design/science communication skills to improve conservation outcomes. They will also gain a first-hand look at saving species from a problems/solutions perspective. Led by zoological medicine veterinarian and RISD part-time faculty Dr. Lucy Spelman, the itinerary includes three days at the University of Pretoria Southern African Wildlife College near Kruger National Park, and two weeks at the Bushwise Field School near Makalali Private Game Reserve. The lead guide is Vaughan Jessnitz, biologist and senior trainer at Bushwise. A RISD teaching assistant will provide art instruction and critical review. Students will have a rare opportunity to hear from a variety of experts about some of South Africa’s most pressing wildlife problems: 1) habitat destruction by elephants; 2) poaching and illegal wildlife trade of pangolins and rhinos; and, 3) wildlife poisoning, especially of lions and vultures.
Students will select from among these conservation challenges, explore the problem in depth, and collaborate to produce original works of art or design that inspire conservation action. The results will be shared with local artists during “art exchange day” and will serve as a major project for course credit. Skills gained include analyzing, collecting, interpreting, and recording scientific data used to study and monitor wildlife populations; observing, sketching, and photographing wild animals, plants, and landscapes; teamwork; practice visualizing and communicating science. Students are also expected to create an artist archive of photographs, notes, sketches, sound recordings, and videos for future inspiration.
Estimated Cost: $6,300 (includes tuition, accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance).