Sabbatical Dialogues

Sabbatical presentations provide a forum for faculty returning from sabbatical leave to share discoveries, insights, and new work with the community. We invite you to attend informal presentations and learn more about the ways our faculty are exploring their fields and creating new knowledge.

Presentations happen yearly in the spring semester and are set up as dialogues with two faculty members presenting in succession, followed by a period for discussion and questions. These dialogues are open to all within the RISD community - faculty, staff, and students - to learn about faculty interests and work. 

Spring 2021 Sabbatical Dialogues

This year, we welcome back faculty who were on sabbatical during Academic Year 2019-2020 and will include some faculty whose presentations in spring or fall 2020 were postponed.

For Spring 2021, presentations will be held virtually over zoom. All presentations will be 12:00 - 1:00pm unless otherwise indicated. 

Events are open only to the internal RISD community. Zoom details can be found on the internal google calendar.

Attendees must log in with a email to view the calendar and/or join via zoom. 

Presenters | Spring 2021

March 4

Nancy Skolos

Professor, Graphic Design

March 4

Rachel Berwick

Professor, Glass

Ellen Petraits
march 18

Ellen Petraits

Research & Instruction Librarian

march 18

Lucy Hitchcock

Professor, Graphic Design

march 24

Alexander Gourlay

Professor, Literary Arts and Studies

march 24

Clement Valla

Associate Professor, Experimental and Foundation Studies

march 25

Andy Law

Associate Professor, Industrial Design

march 25

John Caserta

Associate Professor, Graphic Design

march 31

Charlie Cannon

Associate Professor, Industrial Design

march 31

Mary Anne Friel

Associate Professor, Textiles

April 8

Eric Anderson

Associate Professor, Theory and History of Art and Design

April 8

Eduardo Duarte

Associate Professor, Interior Architecture

april 14

Angela Dufresne

Associate Professor, Painting

april 15 @ 12:30pm

Tracy Steepy

Professor, Jewelry + Metalsmithing

april 15 @ 12:30pm

Joon Lee

Associate Professor, Literary Arts and Studies

april 21

Dennis Congdon

Professor, Painting

april 21

Bethany Johns

Professor, Graphic Design

april 22

Carol Lasch

Associate Professor, Experimental and Foundation Studies

april 22

Judy Sue Sturges

Professor, Illustration

april 28

Nicole Merola

Professor, Literary Arts and Studies

april 28

Jonathan Knowles

Professor, Architecture



Fall 2020: 

Spring 2020:

In March 2020, all Sabbatical Presentations were postponed.

UPDATED: 03.01.2020: Mike Fink’s sabbatical presentation has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at 12pm.

UPDATED 3.10.2020: Daniel Lefcourt’s presentation has moved to Wednesday, April 22.


Academic Affairs is pleased to announce the dates for this year's presentations by faculty returning from sabbatical. The Sabbatical Dialogues program will be held in Room 344, 20 Washington Place, the program will usually start at 12:00PM, apart from 05/02/18 where the program will start at 10:00AM.

In a change to the traditional format of the sabbatical presentations each speaker will give a short presentation on their sabbatical work, followed by a discussion with their opposite number moderated by Daniel Cavicchi, which will also include audience questions.

03/14/18: Damian White (LIBA) and Colgate Searle (LDAR)

04/04/18: Susan Ward (HAVC) and Beth Mosher (ID)

04/18/18: Mairead Byrne (LAS) and Leslie Fontana (ID)

04/25/18: Anne Tate (ARCH) and Leora Maltz-Leca (HAVC) POSTPONED TO A LATER DATE

05/02/18: Robert Brinkerhoff (FA) and Yuriko Saito (HPSS) (starts at 10:00AM)


Part 2:

Academic Affairs would like to inform faculty of the upcoming dates for the second part of the 2017 Sabbatical Presentations.

WEDNESDAY, 04/19/17, 15 West (Library) Room 228

  • 12:00PM: Ann Fessler 'What About the Fathers?'
  • 12:45PM: Andrew Raftery 'The Autobiography of a Garden'

THURSDAY, 04/2017, 189 Canal Street (Apparel Design), Room 210B

  • 12:00PM: Dean Snyder 'Guggenheim Fellowship Work'
  • 12:45PM: Catherine Andreozzi 'Cows and Sheep.....Everywhere'

WEDNESDAY, 04/26/17, Illustration Studies Building Gallery

  • 12:00PM: Satoru Minami 'Japanese Painting: Characteristics and Expressive Qualities'
  • 12:45PM: Monika Niwelinska 'Hidden Entropy'

THURSDAY, 04/27/17, Old Library (CB 521)

  • 12:00PM: Andrew Freiband 'Knowledge from Narrative: Fine Artists’ Literacies in Applied Research'

Part 1:

Academic Affairs is pleased to announce the dates for the first section of the 2017 Sabbatical Presentations, which run from 1st March to 20th April 2017.

Academic Affairs would like to inform faculty that the presentation by Satoru Minami, Japanese Painting: Characteristics and Expressive Qualities, scheduled for this Wednesday (03/15/17) has been postponed to Wednesday, 26th April 2017 at 12:00PM in the Old Library (CB 521).

Week 2:

Week 1:

Full Schedule:

Wednesday March 2, 2016 12:30 - 1:00 Kevin Zucker (PAINT) Illustration Studies Building Gallery
Thursday March 3, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 Nicholas Jainschigg (ILLUS) Illustration Studies Building Gallery
12:30 - 1:00 Susan Doyle (ILLUS) Illustration Studies Building Gallery
Wednesday March 9, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 Chris Bardt (ARCH) Old Library (CB 521)
Thursday March 10, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 Ellie Hollinshead (EFS) Waterman Building (Room 11)
12:30 - 1:00 Mark Sherman (LAS) Waterman Building (Room 11)
Wednesday March 16, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 Daniel Harkett (HAVC) ProvWash (Room 310)
12:30 - 1:00 Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino (HPSS) ProvWash (Room 310)
Wednesday April 6, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 John Terry (FAV) Design Center Gallery
12:30 - 1:00 Mark Milloff (EFS) Design Center Gallery
Thursday April 7, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 Henry Horenstein (PHOTO) Old Library (CB 521)
12:30 - 1:00 Mickey Ackerman (EFS) Old Library (CB 521)
Thursday April 14, 2016 12:00 - 12:30 Agnieszka Woznicka (FAV) Old Library (CB 521)

March 2015:

February 2015:

November 2014:

October 2014:

Please join us in the Tap Room on Thursday, October 30th, for the following presentations of sabbatical work:

Lothar Windels (Associate Professor, Furniture Design)
12:00 – 12:30 pm
Make, Remake, Makerbot

Peter Tagiuri (Professor, Architecture)
12:30 – 1:00 pm
Raw and Cooked, Sabbatical 2013


Spring 2014:


January’s sabbatical presentations have been rescheduled for February 12, 2014. Paul Sproll (Professor, Teaching + Learning in Art + Design) and Bethany Johns (Professor, Graphic Design) will present on their sabbatical work in the Tap Room, Memorial Hall.

12:00 – 12:30 pm
Paul Sproll: “Simultaneously Looking Backwards and Forwards”

12:30 – 1:00 pm
Bethany Johns: “Here and There: Landscapes, Cities, Books and Memorials”

November 2013:

November Sabbatical Presentations are now scheduled, featuring Nicole Merola, Joon Lee,  Lucinda Hitchcock, and Sandy Gourlay.

In “‘a foretaste of those icy climes’: Arctic Ecologies and Climate Change” Nicole M. Merola (Associate Professor, Literary Arts & Studies) will show images from her recent research trip to the Norwegian Arctic and will discuss her current scholarship on climate change, dark ecologies, and the Anthropocene.
Wednesday, November 6
12:00 – 12:30 pm

Joon Lee’s (Assistant Professor, Literary Arts + Studies) “Sugar Puke” will present “a year of living like an object and writing like a girl.”
Wednesday, November 6
12:30 – 1:00 pm

Lucinda Hitchcock (Professor, Graphic Design) will present her work “Books, Berlin and Obama.”
Thursday, November 7
12:00 – 12:30 pm

Sandy Gourlay (Professor, Literary Arts + Studies) will present his research using a digital microscope to study William Blake’s  earliest retrographic signatures, which were executed in drypoint, and how he then learned how to write these letters with a pointed tool, which revealed that Blake used much the same strokes to form the most of the resist-written letters in the texts of his famous books .
Thursday, November 7
12:30 – 1:00 pm

October 2013:

October 2013 Sabbatical Presentations are now scheduled. Please join Rachel Berwick (Professor, Glass) on October 30th 1:15-2:15pm, and Dennis Congdon (Professor, Painting) on October 31st 12:00-12:30pm, in the Tap Room.

Berwick’s presentation, “Blue,” will show her work with materials, deriving from the earth, that possess an inherent geological significance stretching deep into the past and into the present. Her current project derives from the phenomenology of “light scattering,” an optical affect that creates the blue of the sky. Berwick will discuss how her explorations of light scattering have brought her together with migratory song- birds, manifestations of sky and crystal.


April 2013:

March 2013:

February 2013:

Join us on February 27  in the Memorial Hall Tap Room for a sabbatical presentation by Hansy Better (Associate Professor, Architecture).

January 2013:

On January 31, 2013, join Cornelia McSheehy (Professor, Printmaking) and Susan Vander Closter (Professor, Literary Arts + Studies) for the next in a series of lunch hour Sabbatical Presentations.

Tap Room, Memorial Hall (top floor)
266 Benefit St.

Cornelia McSheehy
12:00 – 12:30pm
Presenting “Untitled”

Susan Vander Closter
12:30 – 1:00pm
Presenting “Norwegian Wood”

October 2012:

Three Sabbatical Presentations have been scheduled for the month of October. Gather in the Tap Room, Memorial Hall (top floor), 266 Benefit St. to hear from:

Mike Fink:  “Roger Williams: Image & Words”
October 10th
12:30 – 1:00

Bruce Chao:  “Nature, Cultured, More”
October 31st
12:00 – 12:30

Leslie Fontana:  “Sabbatical Work”
October 31st
12:30 – 1:00



April 2012:

David Warner: "Memories, Lies, and Miracles: Confronting the Past in Medieval Saxony"

Liz Collins: "Knitting Nation Phase 7 & 8"

Larry Bush

Nancy Friese

Lili Hermann, "The power of "co": Voice, Agency, and Justice"

Nick Palermo, "Interiors: Processes of Painting"

March 2012:

Eva Sutton, "Fringe Dwellers: Life on the Edges of Cities"

Join Martie Holmer (Senior Critic, Foundation Studies) for her sabbatical presentation at the Tap Room, noon, March 5, 2012.

Martie’s presentation is titled: "Venice: Revisiting a Geometric Past: How Travels to Friuli and the Veneto have reinforced the use of structural underpinnings in my work".

February 2012:

John Chamberlin, "Investigating Identity With Middle Schoolers"

Claudia Covert, "Libraries and Technology"

Donna Gustavsen, "New Efforts, New Directions"

November 2011: 

Andrew Martinez "Limbo Pictures"

Bolaji Campbell "Powers Concealed"

Soojung Ham "Working as a Creative Director at Samsung Electronics"

Jonathan Highfield "Katiakitanga Odyssey"

Todd Moore "Current Work and an Archive"

October 2011:

Peter Walker, "Making Waves"

Kyna Leski, "Three Chapters: Bridge, China, & Stories"

Daniel Peltz, "Affective Data Visualizations"


Spring 2011 Schedule:

This year there are a total of seventeen faculty members returning from sabbatical.  The sabbatical leave provides an opportunity for faculty to pursue their own creative practice or scholarly work in myriad ways. By viewing and discussing the results of sabbaticals we come to know and appreciate the creative and scholarly passions that drive the work we all do at RISD.

Beginning in March, we invite you to a special Monday and Thursday Sabbatical lunchtime series.  Faculty will be presenting their sabbatical work on select dates in the Tap Room from 12 to 1.  One faculty member will present during each session for the first fifteen minutes, and then the floor will be open for questions and discussion.  You are encouraged to bring your own brown-bag lunch to accompany the light refreshments that will be served.  Please join us in celebrating the wonderful work accomplished by these faculty members during their well-earned sabbaticals.

April 2011:

Beth Mosher, "Research in Mass-production"

Franz Werner, "Designing with Light"

Robin Quigley

Steve Smith, "Irrational Exuberance in the Western Landscape"

Bill Drew, "Painting for two eyes"
This presentation has been postponed.  Please check back for updates.

Susan Ward, "Gothic Sculpture: Then and Now"

Peter Yeadon, "Substance Abuse"

March 2011:

Robert Brinkerhoff, "Iceberg Mantra"



John Dunnigan, "Practical Solutions to Oblique Problems"

Thursday, March 3rd, 12pm-1pm, Tap Room




Fall 2010 schedule:


Monday 10/4/10 Lynnette Widder, Associate Professor
(and Department Head)
Thursday 10/07/10 Yuriko Saito, Professor
History, Philosophy and Social Sciences
The Role of Aesthetics in World-Making
Thursday, 10/28/10 Mairead Byrne, Associate Professor
The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven+


Monday 11/1/10 Bruce Chao, Professor
Thursday 11/4/10 John Terry, Professor
Film, Animation and Video
A few short films
Monday, 11/8/10 Fritz Drury, Professor
Nature and Narrative
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