Course Description

RISD Summer Programs course- Epistemologies of (Self) Care for Artists

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This course is a combination of theoretical inquiry into care and self-care as creative and intellectual methodology in art and scholarship and a practical laboratory in which students can reflect on and cultivate the practices that support their work and integrity of well-being. Black queer feminist poet Audre Lorde’s famous words—"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”—carry fraught meaning in a moment wherein callousness and a lack of empathy seem to dictate political and social discourse.

The theoretical aim of this course is to unpack the notion of caring, often constructed as an individual concern and practice, which makes it vulnerable to neoliberal co-option, and its expression on a spectrum from Lorde’s radical self-preservation to the empathetic relationship building necessary to maintain (often marginalized) communities. The practical aspects of this course encourage students to consider the different infrastructures that work to encourage self-care and mutual care, and to locate tools that support their artistic and scholarly practices. Students examine the notions of surviving, coping and thriving, pointing not only to case studies in the literature and contemporary art history, but reflect on how these themes appear in our personal experience. Students will be expected to engage in online discussions, work in teams to craft teaching/learning modules, reflect on their personal practice, and develop a “care plan” that offers sustainable support to their lives and creativity.

3 credits


This credit-bearing course is part of RISD Summer Programs, and is open to matriculating students, art and design professionals and those considering a degree in the visual arts.

RISD degree students: Satisfactory completion of this course with a ‘C’ or better can count as 3 transfer credits toward the THAD elective requirements. This course offers 3 transfer credits with pre-approval from the Liberal Arts department using the Prior Approval for Liberal Arts Credit Form. Complete the electronic form in etrieve and then complete the online course registration.

In this intensive course, students should expect to spend approximately 20 hours per week engaging in coursework. Students should plan their schedule accordingly to keep up with class.


Students must be an adult age 18 or older to participate.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

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Online, Asynchronous
Jun 21, 2021 to Jul 30, 2021
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition credit (3 units) $2,300.00 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
3 units
Drop Request Deadline
Jul 12, 2021
Transfer Request Deadline
Jun 14, 2021
Withdrawal Request Deadline
Jun 21, 2021 to Jul 30, 2021
Necessary Supplies/Text(s)
There are no supplies required for this class. Students can expect to spend approximately $15 on the gift-exchange project.
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