RISD in Seoul _ Fall 2018
For Fall 2018, RISD is launching the third iteration of RISD in Seoul, a unique interdisciplinary semester program open to all RISD juniors, seniors, and second-year grads, as well as Brown students in their Junior and Senior years. The program is in collaboration with our South Korean partner Ewha Woman's University in Seoul, and is centered around the Fall 2018 theme: The New Silk Road - Culture as Currency. Like RISD's long-standing EHP (European Honors Program) in Rome, RISD in Seoul takes students to another global city for a fully immersive academic and cultural experience.
Under the guidance of RISD Interior Architecture professor , Brian Kernaghan, , RISD in Seoul revolves around a collaborative group studio environment between students from RISD and Ewha Womans University, our partner institution in Seoul. Once in Seoul, you will be working within a cohort of RISD juniors, seniors, and second year grads and Ewha students from different art and design disciplines to explore South Korea’s stimulating urban context and culture.
You will engage with a melange of perspectives as you delve into the semester’s signature theme- The New Silk Road, Culture as Currency. The program will offer you a unique opportunity to research the way that the ancient trade route across Eastern Asia has been understood historically and form new narratives that will give fresh perspective on the role of different cultures of the region in general, and the Korean peninsula in particular.
The semester at Ewha will be complemented by a full week of additional travel throughout Japan, the costs of which are covered by your program fee.
Applications for fall 2018 are now open!
If you are a RISD or Brown student currently enrolled in your Sophomore, Junior, Senior, and first grad year, you're encouraged to apply for this upcoming fall semester, 2018.
The deadline for applications is Sunday, April 8th, 2018.
To learn more about the program, you are encouraged to schedule a 1:1 advising session at RISD Global and/or attend one of the following info sessions:
RISD Global Pop-up Advising at the Met: Tuesday and Wednesday, March 20/21, 11:30am – 2:00pm @ The Met
Evening infosession: Thursday March 22nd, 6.30 @ GDCommons (1st floor, RISD Design Center)
Lunch infosession: Wednesday March 28th, noon @ RISD Global (3rd floor, Prov Wash, 20 Washington Pl)
Images from RISD in Seoul Fall 2017
RISD in Seoul: program snapshot
RISD in Seoul is a unique, multidisciplinary residency program that welcomes a select group of RISD students in their Junior, Senior, or first grad year to spend the fall semester immersed in one of the world’s most exciting and contemporary cities.
The program, in collaboration with the South Korean partner Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, takes you to another global city for a fully immersive academic and cultural experience and provides an opportunity to explore the contemporary culture in East Asia, while working with peers from Ewha University. A global center of commerce, technology, and culture, Seoul is a major nexus of innovation, and is home to RISD’s largest group of international alumni. You will also engage in a global field trip to Japan, as a part of the New Silk Road studio course.
The Fall semester program is composed of 16 weeks, starting the first week of September, 2018 and closing in the 3rd week of December, 2018.
Led by RISD Faculty Brian Kernaghan, you will be focusing on a 6-credit studio, in a team with Ewha students, and a 3-credit studio in which you will be developing your individual art and design concepts and projects. You will also be required to take a liberal art class within the Ewha Humanities department and will meet with visiting critics and artist throughout the semester.
Studio Experience: Taught by RISD Faculty Lead Brian Kernaghan, it culminates in a final exhibition. The 2 studio courses fulfill major studio credit requirements.
Part I: Studio Elective | 6 credits | in collaboration with Ewha students
Part II: Studio Concentration | 3 credits | RISD students only
Liberal Art Course: Tauught by Ewha facult, it focuses on orean History and Contemporary Culture | 3 credits |
If desired, an optional three-credit elective course can be chosen from offerings at Ewha (e.g., Korean language), for a total of 15 RISD credits for the entire semester.
Travel and Research: One week of group travel to Japan is included and all costs are covered by the program fee.
The New Silk Road - Culture as Currency
The topis brough by Brian Kernaghan, RISD faculty lead for fall 2018, is "the New Silk Road _ Culture as currency". Throughout history, Eurasia was criss-crossed with routes across both land and sea, along which silk and many other goods were exchanged between people from across the world. These vast networks, known as Silk Roads, carried more than just merchandise and precious commodities, however: the constant movement and mixing of populations also brought about the transmission of knowledge, ideas, cultures and beliefs, which had a profound impact on the history and civilizations of the Eurasian peoples.
Travellers along the Silk Roads were attracted not only by trade but also by the intellectual and cultural exchange that was taking place in cities along the Silk Roads, many of which developed into hubs of culture and learning. Perhaps the most lasting legacy of the Silk Roads has been their role in bringing cultures and peoples in contact with each other, and facilitating exchange between them. As such, from their early, exploratory origins, the Silk Roads developed to become a driving force in the formation of diverse societies across Eurasia and far beyond (UNESCO, 2018).
“The meeting of the East and the West by means of the Silk Roads was an important period in history because two major portions of the globe began to share their respective genius at that time. This sharing was a driving force for cultural progress. The Silk Roads, therefore, should be viewed not only as avenues for the exchange of discrete cultural traits but also as channels for the exchange of symbolic meanings.” (Kim, 1991)
The Studio Experience
This studio, and the Liberal Arts class which complements it, represents a unique opportunity for students from both RISD and EWHA to appreciate the way that the ancient trade route across Eastern Asia, ‘The Silk Road’ has been understood, historically, and arrive at a fresh presentation of the narratives involved in the form of an exhibit.
RISD students from diverse artistic and design disciplines will work collaboratively with peers from Ewha Womens University to give form to these narratives, which will serve to give a fresh perspective on the role of the different cultures of the region in general, and the Korean peninsula in particular.
“In contemporary expositions a country no longer says. ‘Look what I produce’, but ‘Look how smart I am in presenting what I produce.’ In an exposition we show not the objects but the exposition itself. The basic ideology of an exposition is that the packaging is more important than the product, meaning that the building and the objects in it should communicate the value of a culture, the image of a civilization.” - From ‘Travels in Hyperreality’, by Umberto Eco
In order that you can further appreciate some basic tenets of exhibit design, the first three or four weeks of the fall semester will consist of a series of short exercises, each of which will contribute to the your understanding of the issues that face museum curators and designers today.
Through these design exercises, you will increase your understanding of exhibit design in the twenty-first century. The unique geographical position of Korea in relation to its nearest neighbors, China, Russia and Japan, will be examined as a determining factor in the development of its cultural identity, and so we will be asking big questions about how all the different influences have been caused to come together in the region.
Following these exercises, the period to the end of the semester will consist of a single design problem, focusing on a particular site within Seoul, leading to the final review with guest critics (to be announced). We will be able to articulate a fresh view of how Korea itself can be re-presented to the wider world as a culture with a strong individual identity, taking its proper place on The New Silk Road.
As all design activity in the world of museum and exhibition design is collaborative, teamwork will be at the heart of the semester’s work, although each student will be evaluated individually. You are expected to actively engage in meaningful debate and discussion in the studio about the successes and shortcomings of the exhibits and installations you will encounter during the visits, and during the reviews of the work of your fellow students.
Aims and Objectives
- To heighten students’ understanding of Korea’s unique position in the world through its cultural achievements
- To develop a design vocabulary that articulates notions of “the narrative” in museum design
- To expand understandings of the relationship between a museum’s curators and designers, when planning and facilitating a new exhibit, whether it be a permanent feature or a temporary installation
- To enable the designer to develop an effective means of communication for a design concept within a specific context
- To enhance understandings of the nature of collaborative work in the fields of museum and exhibit design
The Liberal art component
The three-credit Liberal Arts Seminar course in Korean history and contemporary culture provides students with a broad grounding. The course surveys Modern Korean Culture, as influenced by Korean Tradition, China, Japan, the US, and modern developments. It is taught by an Ewha professor from the Korean Studies Department.
RISD in Seoul Faculty Lead
For Fall 2018, RISD has appointed Brian Kernaghan (Professor Emeritus, RISD Interior Architecture) as the lead faculty member for the semester program.
Professor emeritus and former department head in the RISD Interior Architecture department, Brian Kernaghan has an extensive teaching experience within global learning environments: at RISD, he taught several times during the DIS (Denmark’s International Studies) summer program in Copenhagen and was Chief Critic for RISD in Rome: EHP in 2011.
Kernaghan has taught many parts of the department’s curriculum, but most recently his teaching interests have concentrated on museum and exhibition design studios, around the idea of The Narrative Museum. He currently teaches on campus an advanced design studio in exhibition design and theory of Adaptive Reuse.
His previous academic position was Director of the BA (Hons) Interior Design course at Kingston University in London, and prior to that he was a practicing designer in Edinburgh, Scotland, where his professional work included interiors and exhibition design.
The Ewha campus, your home for the semester, lies within the urban environs of central Seoul, but is well-known for its historic and contemporary buildings and beautiful woods and gardens. At 25 million, Seoul’s population has now reached a density that is second only to Paris, and is twice that of New York City.
On campus, you will have 24/7 access to a dedicated studio space. Like a residency experience, this assigned space will be yours for the whole semester. You will also have access to all Ewha facilities.
RISD in Seoul is open to all RISD students who will be in their Junior, Senior, and second grad year, as well as Brown Juniors and Seniors, concentrating in art and design. You must have a GPA of at least 3.0 to be eligible. You must demonstrate general qualifications of maturity, motivation, and emotional stability and remain in good standing at RISD, in terms of conduct and finances.
This is a collaborative, supportive enterprise where different disciplines combine to give a deep understanding of the context and where our individual work lends insight to the creation of complex results.
RISD in SEOUL Costs for Fall 2018/19:
- Standard RISD semester tuition: one-half college tuition and one-half student activity fee. Your standard RISD financial aid package applies.
- GeoBlue Worldwide travel medical & international insurance: $16.65/week (based on rate for 2017/18. Rate for 2018/19 still TBD)
- Housing at Ewha dorms: Range for double room $1,200-$1,500 (based on rate for 2017/18. Rate for 2018/19 still TBD)
- Program Fee: Estimated $2,650 (based on rate for 2017/18. Rate for 2018/19 still TBD)
- Administrative fee: $60
The program fee includes all local transportation and local and international field trips. This will include a week-long field trip to Japan in Fall 2018. Meals, airfare to Seoul, Student Visa (approximately $80), materials are all out of pocket expenses. Please note: meal plans are not available at Ewha.
Need-based scholarships are available and funds will be awarded to selected students who have applied, once they’re accepted in the program. Apply for RISD in Seoul scholarships HERE.
How to apply
Registration is now open for Fall 2018. The application deadline is Sunday, April 8th, 2018.
Prior to applying, you are invited to schedule a 1:1 advising session with a Global Learning Advisor and/or attend the information sessions held on campus. Notifications of these sessions are posted on this website.
You must consult your Academic Advisor and Department Head to ensure that all required credits will be met prior to graduation. *Note that English credits are not part of the RISD in SEOUL curriculum.
The application process is managed through Slate Portal, where you will be required to upload all application documents, request the faculty recommendation and obtain the department approval.
You must create and submit your application through the following link:
*Note: when you click on the Slate link, you will be directed to RISD Admissions. Please create an account or login if you already have one, and you will be given the option to start an application for Global Exchange.
The application process consists of the following documents:
- The statement of purpose (max 500 words) is a key component of the application process:
- Please indicate why you are a strong candidate for the RISD in SEOUL program and the reason for your interest in working within Seoul, South Korea and East Asia.Demonstrate your commitment and interest in interdisciplinary approaches to studio work.
- Communicate how you image this independent studio-based program benefitting the development of your art and design practice.
- 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.
- A selection of 10-15 images of your work. These images may reflect projects you would like to pursue while in Seoul, or your strongest, most recent major and non major-related work. Include descriptions of each image, the work’s title, medium, and dimensions.
- Approval from Department Head and Academic Advisor (requested and sent through the Reference section in Slate). If your Department Head and Academic Advisor are the same person, both approvals will be sent as one. Department Head/Academic Advisor cannot provide a faculty recommendation.
- Two letters of recommendation from RISD Faculty you have had within the last year (requested and sent through the Reference section in Slate).
- Passport photo page
Once your application has been approved, you will be asked to read and sign a Terms of Agreement Form, which is an agreement setting the standard for appropriate behavior. (Scan the signed form and upload through Slate.)
The Selection Process
The European Honor Program Faculty Committee reviews and approves all students’ applications for RSID in Seoul as well. As part of the selection, the committee pays particular attention to the students’ statement of interest and portfolio. The aim of the committee is to bring together a diverse and cross-departmental group of students each semester.
In order to study abroad in South Korea for the semester, a valid passport and South Korean visa are required. Fall 2018 participants may need to obtain a visa for the week-long field trip to Japan, depending on nationality. RISD Global will facilitate the visa process in collaboration with the student. The RISD in SEOUL Student Handbook acts as an invaluable resource, providing vital information on everything from the preliminary processes to your time in Seoul.
RISD in SEOUL 2017/18: Urban Microfutures
Last year's edition or RISD in Seoul was led by Peter Yeadon, RISD faculty in the Interior Architecture department, who investigated with a cohort of 7 RISD +1 Brown + 8 Ewha students the topic of micro-housing in Seoul, as a model for future urban living in global cities.
In megacities like Seoul, density and affordability have produced some new, innovative approaches to living in the city. This was the focus of RISD in Seoul in 2017, as Peter Yeadon and the group of 16 students (7 RISD, 1 Brown concentrator in Architecture and 8 Ewha students) envisioned what life might be like in the global cities of the future.
Yeadon launched the semester with visits to some Goshiwon dwellings, micro-apartments that are usually not more than 120 square feet in size, and often have shared common areas. Seoul is renowned for its Goshiwons, thanks in part to publications that have featured the Songpa Micro-Housing project by SSD. Collaborating in small teams of two or three RISD and Ewha students, the group worked together to observe, create, and present some future visions of what Goshiwon micro-apartments might be. The group studied the vibrant neighborhoods that support Goshiwon living, the shared and constrained private spaces of the Goshiwons, the activities they support, and the objects that they contain. Looking for opportunities to innovate, students design their own Goshiwons, right down to the tiniest detail.
In contrast with the collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of the Studio project, the three-credit Studio Concentration course represented an opportunity for each RISD student to propose and complete their independent study during their time in Seoul. Each proposal was in the form of a course syllabus, with clear learning objectives and outcomes, agreed evaluation criteria, and a schedule. Additionally, the Studio Concentration worked was constantly informed by the group's study of life in Seoul.