University Gallery hosts a symposium of research, scholarship and creativity

Each of RIT’s six schools in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences represented

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Bridget Sheehan, Master of Fine Art candidate in industrial design at RIT, created a modular workspace environment called “my spot.” The red “SOS Stool” with cup/glass holders was designed by Josh Owen, program chair and associate professor of industrial design in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

Bridget Sheehan created a modular workspace called “my spot.”—with a seated and standing desk that allows workers to utilize their office space in different ways throughout the day. Sheehan is a Master of Fine Art candidate in industrial design at Rochester Institute of Technology, and her cubicle design will be one of many innovative highlights in a new exhibition at University Gallery.

“Research, Scholarship and Creativity in the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences” is currently on view through May 24, with an opening reception scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 16. Each of the six schools in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS) as well as RIT’s Image Permanence Institute are featured in this inaugural event that focuses on the rigorous and creative research in the visual arts and sciences. The symposium continues with panel discussions from 5 to 7 p.m. April 23 and 30.

“The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences has a rich history of creativity, innovation, research and scholarship,” said Twyla Cummings, CIAS senior associate dean and professor who organized the exhibition with CIAS associate dean Robin Cass. “Approaches to and outcomes of the research in CIAS are often misunderstood, but scholarship in the visual arts and sciences affords a wonderful opportunity of discovery and dissemination. CIAS wants to ensure that the RIT and Rochester communities are apprised of the depth and rigor of the research that transcends all of the disciplines in our college.”

CIAS faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from the School for American Crafts, School of Art, School of Design, School of Film and Animation, School of Media Sciences and School of Photographic Arts and Sciences have created presentations, panel discussions and displays to discover how creativity and technology converge to explore areas of inquiry, solve problems and answer research questions. The research exhibition was curated by Denton Crawford, visiting professor in the School of Art.

Sheehan, who hails from Arlington Heights, Ill., worked an internship program last summer at the Scottsville studio of world-renowned master craftsman Wendell Castle, RIT artist-in-residence. She said her my spot. design encompasses how technology is rapidly changing to meet people’s needs in work setting environments.

“Today’s office is constantly evolving and the workplace is shifting from baby boomers to millennials,” she said. “Because of this, each worker approaches their work with a different set of tools and work styles. A workspace needs to adapt to a variety of digital and analog tools for both long and short term interactions with people and projects.”

Complementing her workspace in the exhibition is a bright red “SOS Stool” created by Josh Owen, industrial design program chair and associate professor in RIT’s School of Design. In exploring research opportunities within the built environment, the SOS Stool defines the acts of sitting, holding and carrying by offering connections between these conditions—with protruding elements emerging from either side of the seat/top that can be used as a cup/glass holder, handle or hook.

University Gallery is located in James E. Booth Hall adjacent to RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies—home to the entire archive of graphic and product designs by renowned international designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For information, contact University Gallery Manager Jessica Erickson at 585-475-2404 or