Course Description

RISD Advanced Program for High School Students: Art and Social Justice

Artwork by Natalie Tyson

During times of economic, political, health or environmental crisis, racism and issues of particular inequities rise to the surface. In this course students engage with pivotal and complex social issues to investigate how during these tension points artists become powerful agents of change. Working within the framework of Emory Douglas' role of the artist to inform, enlighten and educate, students explore how, what and where to message their voice in ways that will have the most impact. Through lectures, assigned research, online discussions and 2D studio assignments, students focus on projects that will enhance their art and design skills and the ability to confidently communicate their concept.

Students learn how to use type and image to convey powerful graphic messaging in consideration for use in print and on social media platforms. Historical and contemporary iconic imagery—such as Shepard Fairey’s ambiguous street culture of "Obey," Banksy's anonymous social commentary on inequity, and most recently Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom’s "I am not a virus" campaign addressing current xenophobic hostility—is covered to help inform students in the creation of their own series of work and a final video presentation.


In this intensive course and Visual + Critical Language, students should expect to spend a combined minimum of 20 hours per week engaging in coursework across both courses. Students should plan their schedule accordingly to keep up with class.

In conjunction with your Featured Topics course(s), you are also required to enroll in Visual + Critical Language. When you register for this Featured Topics course, you will also be charged for the tuition of Visual + Critical Language. You will see this enrollment reflected in your Student Portal before the start date of the course. Visual + Critical Language will meet live two times: during the first and final live sessions of your Featured Topics course.


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

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Online, Asynchronous
Jul 20, 2021 to Aug 15, 2021
Online, Live Sessions
T, Th
9:00AM to 12:00PM
Jul 20, 2021 to Aug 12, 2021
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $2,600.00 Click here to get more information
Drop Request Deadline
Aug 10, 2021
Transfer Request Deadline
Jul 13, 2021
Withdrawal Request Deadline
Jul 20, 2021 to Aug 15, 2021
Necessary Supplies/Text(s)
  • 58 Sketchbook, wire bound, mixed media 9 X 12 
  • Paper 
  • Bristol board
  • Vellum
  • Pad of 20 sheets 
  • Glue, stick medium (Uhu or similar) 
  • Glue, rubber cement 4oz. 
  • Knife, Exacto (or similar) #1 Regular with cap and extra #11 blades Scissors, 7 " standard quality (3M or similar) 
  • Paints, 16 color matte acrylic paint value pack by 
  • Craft Smart Paper, construction, red sheets 
  • Paper, construction, black sheets 
  • Brush, chip set of 3 ( 1/2". 1" & 2") 
  • Ruler, metal cork-back 24"
  • Sharpie Permanent Marker, Fine Point, Black
  • Palette, plastic well type, rectangle small, 6-8 wells #2 pencil 
  • Eraser, small kneaded 
  • Magazines, variety of old used
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