Experimental and Foundation Studies Division

Dean: Joanne Stryker

Based on the philosophy that all first-year undergraduate students benefit from a shared understanding of RISD’s approach to studio learning, freshmen follow the same studio curricula—known as Experimental and Foundation Studies. Each of the three programs of study - Drawing, Design and Spacial Dynamics - meets one full day per week, with students expected to work on an ongoing series of challenging assignments outside of class time. Faculty work closely with students, offering ongoing guidance and feedback. Group critiques provide important opportunities for students to present their own work and support that of their peers.

Faculty members work closely with students, emphasizing rigorous critical inquiry and independent learning while offering ongoing guidance and feedback. Projects are designed to encourage exploration, questioning and risk-taking. At the end of each project, critiques are held so that students can discuss their intentions and processes, and reflect on the capacity of the work to embody ideas and emotions.

Unlike RISD’s 16 discipline-specific undergraduate studio majors, EFS compares and combines disciplines. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to learning fundamental concepts in studio production while emphasizing process, experimentation and critical thinking and making skills.

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Browse the Experimental and Foundation Studies Division Collections:

Experimental and Foundation Studies Exhibitions