The Center for Complexity (CfC) at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) announces its fourth annual symposium, to be held on the RISD campus in Providence, Rhode Island, from September 21–23, 2022. The symposium will feature speakers, panel discussions, group inquiry, and an exhibition designed to advance a collective understanding of the meaning and consequences of collapse.

A variety of planned interactions among artists, designers, scholars, inspirational speakers, and the public will advance the ambitious goals of the event. “This forum is a space for collective inquiry and discovery, entwining diverse areas of expertise, experience, and ways of knowing,” explains CfC Founding Director, Justin Cook.  

“The Center for Complexity is a systems design and research team embedded at RISD,” adds RISD Interim Provost, Anais Missakian. “Their commitment to creative practice as a path toward deeper understanding of complex systems and, ultimately, meaningful change, is exemplary of the way we approach research at RISD.”

Michael Lomonaco, chef/partner of Porter House and Grill, will be the main speaker on Wednesday, September 21. Former culinary director of the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center’s North Tower, Lomonaco survived the attacks on 9/11 by a twist of fate. As a New York City restaurateur navigating the catastrophic impact of the COVID pandemic, Lomonaco’s experience provides a unique perspective on adapting, adjusting, and responding to crises with creativity and compassion. 

The main speaker on Friday, September 23 is Jack Halberstam, professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University and author of seven books, including The Queer Art of Failure. His creative capacity to disrupt conventional understandings is certain to inspire fresh perspectives. 

The CfC at RISD is a platform for transdisciplinary collaboration and innovation, informed by global events and creative practices, founded to benefit scholars, practitioners, a diverse range of partners, and the RISD community.

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