Design Schools for Women were the STEAM innovation of the 19th century.
These historical voices are muted still in 2014.
Recent Presentations, 2009-2011
[NYC, DC, Providence, Miami, Florence Italy]
2011: “The Utopian Promise of 19th c. Design Schools for Women”
A Trade School/OurGoods collaboration at the Whitney Museum of Art
"Between 1848 and 1852, the first three design schools in America were opened by women for women in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. More cities founded design schools for both men and women in the years and decades that followed. This Trade School class starts with a talk about what this transformative design school movement meant for First Wave women, and for the next generation of women like Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942) who became a sculptor and later founded the Whitney Museum. We will then transitions into a group discussion of how this history might inform the education of today’s artists and designers. For example, how can we best mentor one another towards subjective, creative, and economic freedom?"
2010: “First Wave Feminism and the Ecology of Culture in RI”
First Annual Feminist Art History Conference in Honor of Norma Brode, American University
2010: "Thomas Tefft's Plans for an Art Museum and Design School"
Guest Curator, Providence Athenaeum
2009: “Women and Social Entrepreneurship in American Design Education, 1848 – Now”
International IDSA [Industrial Designers’ Society of America] Annual Conference, Miami
2008: “Albert J. Jones: The New York Times’ Sculpture Critic in Italy, 1860-1876”
City & the Book IV: Florence and the Americans, Florence, Italy (October 12, 2008).
[See TLS February 27, 2009: 15.]
Related Publications and PhD thesis
2009: [Three chapters in] Infinite Radius: founding the Rhode Island School of Design, ed. Andrew Martinez and Dawn Barrett. (2009): 171-242.
2009: “Towards a Genealogy of Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design, 1876-1896.”
Brown University PhD Thesis:
1997: “Educating American Designers for Industry, 1853-1903,” in The Cultivation of American Artists: Education and the Commerce of Art in 19th-century America, ed. Diana Korzenik. (American Antiquarian Society, 1997): 187-206.
Site Specific Art Installation on RISD’s history
2008: Footnotes (2008). A collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Caroline Woolard for the juried show, Cryptic Providence. Austin exhibited an iteration of this project at the RISD, Museum of Art (2009). [EcologyOfCultureRI.blogspot.com]
Older Conference Papers on Design Education, 2004-1993
2004: “The RISD Hybrid: Design and the Language of ‘Art’, 1876-96,”
The Winterthur Biennial Conference on “Rethinking Design” (2004).
2002: “‘What a beginning is worth’: The Women’s Centennial Committee of Rhode Island & the Founding of RISD, 1875-77.” The American Seminar, John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization, Brown University (2002).
2002: “Founding Notions of Design at RISD,” Founders Day Forum for RISD’s 125th Anniversary (2002).
2001: “Industrialization and the Language of Art and Design,” College Art Association (2001).
2000: “The Jones Bequest and the Meaning of a Museum in 1890s Providence,” The Rhode Island Round Table, John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization, Brown University (2000).
1996: “Early American Female Designers: Betsey Metcalf, Sophia Woodhouse, and Mary Dixon Kies,” College Art Association Annual Conference -Women’s Caucus (1996).
1994: Session Chair - “Tracing Usable Legacies: The Production of Art in Modern Consumer Societies,” College Art Association Annual Conference (1994).
1993: “Educating American Designers for Industry, 1854-1903,” American Antiquarian Society Conference on Education and the Commerce of Art in 19thc. America (1993).
Rhode Island School of Design, 1991-1999, 2003, 2008-2009
History of Industrial Design; Design History seminars; Undergraduate Advanced Design Studio on Interactive Appliances; Graduate Studio Seminars in Design History and Theory; Graduate Studio Thesis Advisor and Critic; Business & Professional Practice for graduating seniors; Guest Critic in Graphic Design & Architecture Studios.
Yale University, 1999-2001
History of Industrial Design; Thesis Critic, School of Architecture.