Co-Works Tour | RISD Weekend 2020
Uh coworks, is a research lab at risd. Um. We're department, neutral. Uh. The discipline, neutral, and we're, about. Interdisciplinary. Research, and technology. Uh, in art and design applications. And making those things as accessible as possible, to people from, as many backgrounds, and disciplines, as possible. We primarily work as an incubator. Meaning that we design. And offer some of the weirder, more experimental. Courses, at risd. Often there are collaborations. Between, departments. Or with. Companies, outside. Of risd. We also support, institutional, research initiatives. For instance right now we're working with microsoft. And supporting, an initiative. Using vr. For. Uh. Pedagogy. And critique, in virtual reality space, that kind of thing kind of makes sense right now maybe. And, we also, uh more recently, over the last couple years, have developed a pretty robust, peer tutoring program. So, i'd like to point out for me. Co-works, is much more about the community. And the people here than it is, just about the lab and technology. This is, us us, the people we have on our team right now, students from literally, every department, at risd. In a normal semester. Right now is not a normal semester for obvious reasons, we would actually have twice as many people on the team, so over 30, usually. But. Nonetheless. An amazing team of students, from every. Design. And. Art discipline, that raised the and many of them also have very interesting, backgrounds themselves. And people that come from engineering, people that come. From. Science and math backgrounds, liberal, arts. History. Um. And are. Also engaging, in art and design in ways that are incorporating, those things so we're really. A lot, really. Committed to supporting that kind of inquiry. Um. Let me show you around. So this is the hallway that we've been in. Exciting. And then here's the new area. Um. These tables. Obviously. Our work tables. Um. And. Can be put together for when we have a class in the space. Uh hold the part for work, etc. And talk a little bit about the technologies, we have here. Um. For instance we have some laser cutters. Uh, two, laser cutters that are actually a little bit different appropriate for different types of materials. Laser cutting, is, pretty. Common nowadays, in many contexts. Certainly, people. In architecture, industrial, design for instance. They're, creating models, and prototypes, of laser cutting, and we certainly, do that kind of work here. But, like i mentioned earlier, we, are trying to make. These psychology, more accessible to people from backgrounds, and maybe, laser cutting, or other technology, that's not as traditional. And also figure out ways to hack and combine, technologies, in new ways, so, on one end of the spectrum. You know we might have architecture. Students. A landscape, architecture student who's laser cutting to kind of, uh produce topographies. With layers. Or. You know this is pretty typical. Turf joinery. And laser cutting things that fit together. In certain ways. To create, prototypes, and objects. But, you might also get someone. Laser engraving, plaster. To create. Molds, for tile pattern reproduction. For instance, this is kind of maybe an example of a result of that. You might have, graphic design, students, who are interested, in, applying. Their designs, to materials. Other than paper. This was i think, just a test watch by. A print making student, thinking about. Working with mirror and laser engraving, it. As printmaking. We've had certainly, textiles, and apparel screens, making their own, fabrics.
Laces. Uh, laser cutting, kombucha, scoby, to make a vegan, leather lace. Uh on laser cutters so, these are things that, maybe are a little bit outside of what you typically expect. For technologies, like this, everything has a nice charred smell over here as well yeah like a campfire. When you shoot lasers at things, uh, they cast on fire, sometimes. Um. Yeah that's just part of the game. Um, this is our command center. We have. A minority, report screen, with various. Various stats and things, um. At the moment we don't have. Our vr studio. Or. We typically have a vr, artificial intelligence, studio but at this moment. Um it's in transition. But i did want to point out this little example, here so this is a swatch of fabric. And you might see that it looks a little crazy, the pattern. And i love the story behind this pattern this was a collaboration, between. A former. Textiles, and painting, student. Both, kind of disciplines you might not associate. With ai. Or machine learning. And, they. Were. Working with the faculty, member to, to train, a neural net. On. Images, of acrylic, nail art. So i don't know if you all are familiar, but, they're these, competitions, of crazy acrylic nails that are like sculptural, in themselves. So they fed this neural net, thousands of images, from google, of nail art and then, told it to create, patterns, based on those aesthetics. And then the. The. The ai, was able to create, this is one just, a quick example of that. These crazy patterns, which then they print the fabrics, of and they created a whole fashion line out of them so, this is like i think a really great example of how people are engaging with technologies. Again, maybe from disciplines, that you might not expect. Um. This is our, front, corner. Maybe more 2d, than a lot of the other kind of little spaces, in the lab. We have a large format printer over there it's basically, just a big inkjet. Um, and, it feeds rolls of material, or sheet material. Um. However. Just like a lot of the things here we, allow for kind of hacking and experimental. Applications. For instance i had a student who. Collected, cat hair for a long time and then made paper out of it and then really wanted to print on it and they would not let her print on it in the. High-end, and nice printers in our print centers on campus for good reason. Um and we were like sure why not try it here, um and it worked, i think kind of, and, uh we were maybe picking, some cat hair out of the printhead, for a while. Um but you know that's just, one of the hazards, of a space like this. Um we also have standard, like. You know. Laser printer, flatbed, scanner. Book binding, stuff. Uh. Equipment. Um and then this. Piece, here is, hugely, popular, it's called a uv printer. And it can print. Full, high resolution, color, on most solid materials. And on. Objects, to a certain extent, so i'll show you some quick examples, here. This is someone. Who printed, i guess a screenshot, of instagram.
A Drag queen i think on uh. Plywood. And. Here is someone. Um. Vacuforming. A, uv, printed. Face. This was a test swatch. I think by a digital media grad, a few years ago, for a much larger bench piece, so, they uv printed, they wanted to see what it would look like to do gradients, and to print this kind of gloss, clear, layer. And then our machine is not capable of doing like furniture, scale but we know some service providers that are, so after doing some prototypes, here, she was able to scale up to. Large scale furniture, that have these amazing, gradients. On, the planes of the furniture, so that gloss layer is printed, in the uv printer yes so this printer can print full cmyk. As well, as. Gloss, and opaque, white, and then by layering, those things in different ways you can get actually really interesting effects. This is a quick example, of someone. Printing, on, plexiglass. And, this is also printing on plexiglass, and unfortunately i don't have all the layers. But this was a. Grad student at risd, an mfa grad student who was. Printing cross-sections. Of, uh, like cat scans, and, scans of internal organs, and they would stack up into these, essentially, static. Holograms. Uh three-dimensional. Representations. Of these scans. Uh kind of floating in the acrylic. And then she actually ended up going to medical school john hopkins, after doing an nfa. So. You know tell your parents. I could be a doctor, after arts. Um. So let's see what else can. I, show you. Well we opened a nightclutter. Vinyl cutter. Those are pretty standard, types of tools. But again people are hacking these things in interesting, ways. So like a pen and night platter. You typically put in a drawing, implement. Or a cutting implement and it follows, a very precise, pattern that you've designed. And of course we do that kind of work but, people have also done things like. Oh i want to see what it would look like if i did, chinese brush painting, with kind of neck water or i want to see. I had a painting student who, was putting in burning sticks of incense. And then having the ash fall precisely. On the vector, path, and then that ended up being a layer. In the work they were doing. Um. A little craft vinyl cutter but you know. It's very helpful for. Your wall text when you have an exhibition. It's, great for making, decals. Adhesive, stencils. Things like that. Um. I could even talk about the laminator. So. We originally, got this. To laminate signs. Um but, you leave something like this out in this space. Uh found in a lab like this um you all of a sudden you have students laminating. Uh lint to make experimental, textiles. Or. There's one suit that was, making a jacket out of lunch meats to criticize. The agricultural, industrial. Complex. And. She laminated, bologna, and then embroidered, into it to make, the epaulettes.
For This meat jacket. Um. Yeah there were, it was a meat jacket. Did that smell like a dilly with that day, it didn't smell great especially over time, i'll put it that way. Uh but the documentation. Was amazing. Uh. We have a growing little library here everything, from. Making processes. To biodesign. To critical, theory. And. Gender studies, things that, are. What the students are invested, in so we just respond to student requests, obviously, risky has. Amazing, library resources, as well but, this is in um. Specific response, to, the kind of conceptual. And, technical. Investments, of the students, the lab has pad. Okay, so this corner, here is kind of our, primary, 3d printing area. And um. I think a lot of people are familiar with 3d printing nowadays, at least it's an idea. Maybe what they're less familiar with is the fact that that's a really big umbrella category, from many different types of technologies. That don't necessarily. Work the same way or are appropriate, for the same applications. We have two main types here. Sorry at, quote works ourselves. One of them is these formula, 3d printers, which are stereolithographic. Essentially, what that means is that there's. See this one. A pool of liquid resin. And the tank has a clear bottom. And a laser shoots up into it and, selectively. Solidifies, the resin, selectively, cures it so essentially, this. Three-dimensional, object kind of rises, up out of the liquid over time, in slow motion. And that fits fixing my mask, so kind of like the terminator, movie, like the terminator movie, or the lady of the lake i don't know that's. You know reference. Um. Some, really quick little examples, of some of the formula, prints here so we might have, someone, 3d printing. A mold. To cast. Some interesting, kind of patterns. You might see i think this person was casting. Silicone. And this was like, a. Generatively, designed. Form in rhino. That they made the mold of. A little example here as well. Uh, what's nice about these 3d printers is that you can use different resin formulations. To print, different end materials so they might be clear, or flexible. Or, heat resistant, or bio-compatible. Oh i love this example this was. A film. And animation. Student film video animations. That was 3d printing. The expressions, of her stop-motion, characters. And she could, increment, the expressions. 3d print them and then quickly switch them out when she was doing her stop-motion. And then, she was an undergrad that is. Finishing, her graduate degree. At cal art style. And yeah so just some quick examples of that type of 3d printing. Over, here. We have. Um. Fdm, 3d printer fusion deposition, modeling. Which is, you know pretty similar to, what i think a lot of people know like a makerbot.
Classic Filament printers. This is a little bit of a more industrial, level, version of that, and it can print higher resolution. It can print. Um, this support material, that fills in the space and allows, for things like. Things that have a lot of interior. Negative space this is just a cross section of. The failed print really. But an interesting form of less right so david it's building. Layer by layer, right so this is building layer by layer. Which is extruded. Plastic, filament abs, plastic in this case. But because, it is a little bit more advanced than like your normal consumer, model. It can do things like nested objects, as a single print. So this is basically a cat toy. Um but it's also a cool proof of concept for like you know, nested. Embedded. Shapes in a single. Thing. Another example of that is like, this is a ball and socket joint. That was printed. As a single. Object, even though it is, separate pieces technically. Um. This is my friend delafonte. Again ball and socket joint for the head, and then, these movable, legs. He's super cute but he's also a highly technical, example. Um. Can you talk a little bit about the washout, process. Oh yeah yeah so um. I'm not sure i have an example, of something that has not. Had the. Material removed. Yet, but. This is a chemical, bath here that once, a 3d print comes, out of the printer. The support material needs to be dissolved. And this chemical, bath, is. Very alkaline. And. Is. Near boiling. And you place it in the bath for at least a few hours maybe overnight, and it dissolves, the support material away very cleanly. Um. And, uh, and that's how that works, so elephanta, would have had some support material, in those joints, right, then, he's free moving once he's, exactly, so in order to create, these joints there has to be support material. In those tolerances. Otherwise, they would be fused, all the the pieces that are supposed to be able to move. Um, okay one last elephant, question sure how long did elephanta, take, to emerge. I'm not sure. You know it gets variable too because you can. Decide to print a solid, object, or with a honeycomb, fill which takes a lot less material. And that affects the print time so i would guess that this little guy. Might have taken, anywhere from a few hours to print to like overnight, if it was a solid fill, right, but it's. You know it's not just about the size of the piece it's about the type of design, it's about, the resolution of the print, et cetera et cetera. Oh one more example. Is chain mail. Again. Printed. Uh as one design. And we've had, uh, you know textile, students approaching, 3d printing as, a way to create experimental, textiles, like this. So again. People from disciplines, that you might not associate, with respect. Slow me down if you need, i know i talk fast. I just wanted to know so much about elephanta.
Helicopters. So right here we have some cnc. One cnc, unit which, actually may need to replace you but. Um i can at least. Kind of illustrate, what cnc technology, is, um. Let's say we are comparing it to, 3d printing 3d printing is additive. You're adding up material, to create, the design. Cnc technologies, are generally, subtractive. You're removing, material. Um. Based on your 3d model. And. There again there are many different types of technologies, that fall under the cnc, umbrella. This particular, unit. Is one that's relatively, small scale and it has a fourth rotary, axis meaning that, you can rotate your material. And create, these, kinds of designs so this is a braided rope, with some embedded, cubes. And essentially, we're kind of like a lathe. But you won't be able to do something like this on a traditional, way. Um we might have, an industrial design student. Uh prototyping. Parts, for, some sort of. More engineering. Leaning. Project. Maybe it's even the positive, that will create a mold, to be cast in other materials. This is someone, milling out. Pork. This, was a little prototype. From a sculpture, faculty, member. For much larger kind of sculptural pieces, but. It's. Dyed stack laminated, plywood. But then he. Carved out using. The cnc, mill. Yeah those are some quick examples, there. So i'm seeing, a lot of wood, a lot of foam, some pork right there materials, that don't work as well with the cnc, with this particular. Piece of equipment. Those are the most appropriate types of materials, it's not one that's good with. Metals. Or. Stone. Or what else do people try to do. Plaster. There are cnc technologies, that are appropriate, for. Different materials, maybe those materials. This one just. Outside of this range. What, else do we have here so we have, we have this student-led, project. Classic recycling, rig that they're developing. There are a lot of plastics, that are not recyclable. In rhode island and in many states including, abs plastic which is one of the processes. So maybe, we can figure out how to recycle it ourselves, so if you grind it down. Melt it create. An extrusion. For other purposes. Over here we have our electronics. Physical computing. Bench. So. We often have students that, are interested in physical computing, and coding, or maybe even come from an engineering. Or computer science background. And so they can make their own circuit boards. They can solder up their own wiring. Uh maybe they're using microprocessors. Like arduino, and raspberry, pi, to create. Robotic. Installations. Or pieces. Responsive, sensors, things like that. Here we have a couple knitting machines. And. If you are. Wanting to learn traditional. Machine, learning. Uh the tech sales department, has amazing, courses, and, a lot more, equipment than, we do for that purpose. Our machines, uh. Have been, used more for kind of experimental. Applications. And for hacking. So maybe, using fibers that traditionally, you wouldn't. Uh, that wouldn't be sanctioned, for this kind of application, and seeing if you can get it to work. Or. I have a student hacking one of these machines. With an arduino microprocessor. To make it into a musical instrument. So, i think that's pretty interesting. Um. Yeah what else we got. Our vacuum forming corner. We have more of an industrial. Vacuum former here, like, you know a little bit approaching industrial scale, and a cute little, desktop, vacuum former here, and for those of you who are not familiar, with vacuum forming as a process. Essentially, you're taking. A, sheet of, plastic. Heating it so that it becomes malleable. And then using the vacuum suction, to. Suck it around, a positive, form so that you can make a shell replica. So for. Instance. This is. A shell replica. Of. A torso, that was milled out actually, um out of wood. Um, or this is someone who's playing around, and. Vacuforming. Their shoe.
Which Is i think actually kind of funny. Um. But, people have also kind of. Hacked this machine, to do things that aren't exactly, about. Making. Molds, or, shell replicas, of things, but this is like someone like treating it as a sculptural, tool and melting, plastic. That has been uv printed on. Um. I've had. People, make weird laminates. And kind of terminal, textiles. With the vacuformer. Yeah but also the traditional stuff like, uh rapid foams are very typically used in mold making. Um so you might deform. Something, and you then. Can use, the form. To, cast in materials like silicone. Concrete, plaster. Alginate. Uh really anything, that you would use for casting i've even had students make. Plastic mole uh sorry, chocolate, molds, um, there was this one student who. I saw back before my juniper branches, and things like that, and, they made these really kind of lovely. Molds. And, i was like i asked him oh what class is that for what's the project he goes oh i'm making chocolates for my girlfriend. Super, cute. So david with something like the vacuum former, would i come in and say okay i have this project, can i buy the plastic material from you. Oh yeah yeah so, um, the way this works at risd in general, is that we have a pretty centralized. Place, to get, most, common materials. Uh the rizzi store and the 3d, store with the 3d store, so. Uh. The plastics, that you would most often be using on something like vacuformer. Are styrene. Or pteg. Which is kind of this clear. Classic right here. Um, and that's all easily available, kind of at the center of campus, at the movie store. Um, students, in most making states at risd, would supply their own materials. Maybe, there is funding, because it's a class. Or, you're getting money for the materials, fund if you need that kind of support. Um. There are some examples, here where we supply materials because it's proprietary, for that piece of equipment. Um. Over here. Kind of we have our messy work areas, people do mold, making casting, here maybe. This is. Um the start of, we have this, uh carpet tufting gun, which basically, shoots yarn. Into fabric. And makes carpet very rapidly. This is just the start of someone practicing, i think maybe the back gives you a better idea of what's happening. But. If you can imagine, we've had students, um.
Essentially, Painting. Treating carpet, as, painting, and painting. Large. Pieces. Uh with warm. Using this this cupcake. Which, is. Student-led. Kind of projects, we have. We've had some, uh. Some grad students that, used open source plans, to create, these, ceramic, 3d printers. And essentially what they do is, using. Compressed, air. They, extrude. Clay. And follow, a fairly precise. Kind of path. Toolpath. To create, the designs. So, um. I guess one quick example i can show. Is something like this. So on one end it's, round. And then. On the other end it's this uh. Seven i did star i think. Um, but you know, molding something, by hand, with this kind of precision. Is. Maybe, difficult, or impossible. Which is not to say that we're presenting, any of these things as a replacement, for traditional. Methodologies. We're making, um, i strongly believe that. That is, not, a good way to. Approach. Kind of new technologies, emerging technologies. I think that they are different tools. That allow for more options, and that. They should really be integrated, and support. Traditional. Traditional, strategies. Um. As well. This piece is so thin too i can't quite imagine. Figuring that out, exactly. Um. Yeah so anyways these are the, s. Uh well this is just a documentation, area so, i want this year's portrait studio experience. So you can get your portrait taken. For your prom. Right here. Um. Oh actually if you're at rising it's a prom. What's the harm. Artist ball, that. When you come to brisbane. For the artist ball, around halloween. You will make, your own halloween, costume, that's tradition. And as you might imagine, at an art and design, school. Some of y'all go, all out. So that is a spectacle. A really fun one. Um so anyways we have a little documentation. Area. And a fairly decent lighting kit, because, we all this is very important, if you go to our desktop, document, your work, high quality documentation. All the time, otherwise. You don't have anything to show for down the line a few years later. Okay. Thank you i'm 10 years out of school and it took me 10 years oh my god. I'm still learning that lesson. Makes a huge difference if you can sell it. Okay so what do we have here we have, our. Digital embroidery, machine, this is kind of an industrial, level digital embroidery, machine. Um, and. Here i don't know what's going on here but someone's, playing around these are probably just training, samples people like learning how to use the machine right here, but they're embroidering, and they're, doing applique, on the machine. I can show a couple more tests. Things here. This is someone. Cute little underwear applique. Um. You know you badass, flames, for your motorcycle, jacket. Uh oh this is yes the koi, so this is, kind of a lovely design. We also have, people that are hacking the machine for non-standard, applications, like, i want to construct, webbing, in a certain way. Oh instead of sewing it by hand can i actually make a jig and, a situation, and embroider, it together. Non-standard, materials. As well, and then actually, my. Future example. I have a lab manager. Uh branch crucifix. Who. Was able to hack the machine. To make this shoe, so this was embroidered. Flat. All the. The functional, kind of structural stitching, all the decorative, stitching. The quilting. The application, of the velcro. Was all embroidered, together. And then, um, after cutting it out of the frame, i think it just took one main seam and, the application, of this kind of bottom piece, to, have it all fold up into the shoe.
So Again i think a pretty good example of. Hacking things approaching things in a more experimental, way. Um. And then. Over here we have. Our sewing, area. And this nice. Ironing. Table. Where i've literally, caught students taking, naps. Um. I have not done that yet but maybe i've been captured. Um. We have some industrial level sewing machines. Uh the jukey, which is fairly standard, uh, for. For sewing, and then we have. The, jukey walking foot, here which. Um. Would maybe be traditionally used for quilting, applications, because you're doing many more layers of material. But also is appropriate, for, kind of thicker, non-standard, materials, i have people. Sewing. Leathers, pleathers, vinyls. Uh, carpet. Astro, turf. That kind of thing, maybe you're making a bioplastic. Sheet, out of. Chitin, or, gelatin. And you're trying to figure out if you can sew it together and this might be. Something you can try, you also have the overlock, exterior, over there. And we have an active seam, uh marrow machine right there. Which can do, a. Flexible, seam. A scene that actually stretches, with the fabric it's used for things like. Uh scuba gear, and. Um, shoes, and things like that uh when you need a seam that, uh, doesn't constrain the fabric, in its skin. So david if i bring astroturf. In, what, is maintenance like on these machines because i can only imagine. You know that machine wasn't initially. Created, to sew through astroturf. Um well, maintenance, is, uh. Is an issue, especially since we. Try to allow for and encourage. These more. Experimental, out-of-the-box, ways of working. Um. We i have, an amazing lab manager i mentioned, uh britain earlier. Who really, takes care of most of that i'm really fortunate in that regard. Um. And, uh and really. You know we've done this tour, but you might have gotten a sense that this isn't a huge space this is not like a big. Off-campus. Shop, or. Service provider, model, this is more, for like. Uh. Supporting, specific. Courses, and inquiry. Um, and. Having a more intimate experience hopefully, um. But i think what is. Uh. Because it is that smaller scale we're able to kind of keep up with, that kind of maintenance issue. Um. There is some, some, aspiration. In the institution, to. Take this model and expand, it and maybe have. Different notes across campus, and certainly there are other kind of co-working, type spaces, at least. Great. Well i think that was kind of the start of our informal, q a but now we'll switch to the more formal portion, so go ahead and type questions into the chat box. And david and i are going to get situated by our computers, and we'll answer some questions, okay so stay with us while we transition. Thanks. Man. Hi everyone, i'm coming to you from david's, office david thank you for letting me borrow your office. All right so we have some questions, coming, in. And david one thing i wanted to ask you as i review those questions. Is. A lot of these. You know the 3d printer the embroidery, machine. How do you make files for all of those. Different machines. Um. It depends, on the technology. And the situation. But. Generally, for like 3d printing and cnc, processes. You're, using 3d modeling software, but there isn't necessarily, one. Specific, software. Um, there might be pros and cons of different software but at risd a lot of people are using, rhino. Maybe you're using solidworks. Or autocad. Or maya, or blender. And, they're all you know. All a little bit different and have different kind of pros and cons. And are there. I know you mentioned the peer mentorship, program are there. Folks who are better at some programs versus others so i know when i come into this space i can ask for help. Definitely, this um. I think that's just, par for the course, when it comes to trying to be, as interdisciplinary. And as, inclusive. As possible. Which is why we have as i pointed out at the beginning. A very. Uh, kind of diverse. And broad array, of, peer tutors, and grad, grad student instructors, here, they come from all different disciplines so they all have different skill sets and. Not everybody, knows everything. But, we really kind of try to treat it as this. Shared. Uh body of knowledge. And they're always cross-training, each other and sharing, what they know with within the team and with the people, that are coming here. Which i really love. Great, okay so another question that we have, uh what classes, do you have to take to have easy access, to co-works. Especially. For someone who might be a freshman. So i think as a freshman. To be honest you'll probably, be. A little. Occupied. With your foundation, year requirements. It's um. I don't want to say brutal. But it is a lot and demanding, i think most freshmen really love the challenge. But that you're going to be focused on that your first year. And by the way as a freshman, you do have.
Uh The support, of. A foundation, year maker space, which doesn't quite have the range, that we do but is a good introduction, to, some of these kinds of digital, processes. But then as you matriculate. Up starting your sophomore, year on. Um. You, probably, will look at the interdisciplinary. Category, in the course catalog. And you'll see. Uh, all the co-works courses are generally, listed, there. And the course description, will say it's a cowork supported, course. Yeah hopefully that. That makes sense. Great and the second question that i have is kind of similar. So at what stage and there is the class sequence, can students get access to the lab and is it associated, with particular, courses or can students just come in and get training i think you mentioned. The fav student who was working on that very specific. Uh time lapse, project so is it kind of an independent, study situation, or how does that work right right, so, um. Well this semester things are a little bit more constrained, because, obviously. Because of covid. So we have to mediate things in a more careful way, but, typically, yes we are primarily, for those specific, courses. However, we work pretty hard to make things, any extra capacity, accessible, to anybody at risd who has interest so that's where the peer tutoring program, comes in, anybody. Can book time with their peer tutors. Maybe it's to get trained, on equipment, here or maybe get help with, a specific type of software especially maybe. Software. Or, tools that you don't, have easy access to within your home department. And. And. In addition to like getting that kind of technical help our peer tutors are really great at helping, conceptually. Or. Or developing, a project idea you have, or really kind of thinking through how to. Approach something in an interdisciplinary. Way and incorporate. Something, from, another, area that you're. You're trying to get introduced to.
Great. Uh so this is uh similar in line to what you were just talking about how many students are allowed, at one time. Um. How missions are allowed, well right now, because, of max occupancy, requirements. Our, lab max occupancy, is eight, which is. Very small. Admittedly. But. In in a normal semester. Um. I don't think we've ever tried to tap it, uh when there's a class in the space maybe it needs to be dedicated, to the course. But, uh during. General. You know open hours. Um, i think we've had. Well over 50 students in the space at one time. Uh. Which is a little crazy. Um but. Everyone seems to be friendly about it, you know they figure out how to negotiate, the space and, accommodate, each other and share the equipment. I think that's also, um. Such a great skill to develop is how to work in a communal, shop and be able to communicate. With the other people who are sharing the resources, because it really is. Meant to be accessed by everyone. Okay, a question. About the labs um are, the materials, very expensive. Meaning does it limit use to those who can afford it. Um. That's i think a very important question that's, um. The ethos, we have here. Is that we want to make things as successful, as possible so. None of the equipment. Uh, we don't charge for use of equipment. Um, the the things where there, may be a cost is consumption. Of like proprietary, materials like resin for the resin 3d printers. Um, that said, um. I try to get. Supplemental, funding, i apply for grant funding. And, do other types of kind of like. Conversation, with companies, to get in-kind, donations. And we also get institutional, educational, pricing, on those things, so really, um. We're able to bring, that cost, down, uh significantly. And. If a student. Is paying for those things it's, at much, much lower than kind of industry. Costs. Um. I'm really hoping, to work towards. Uh, having. Enough funding where we don't have to charge for anything. That's great. Uh let's see when was co-works, first, created, or implemented. Um. Well, i. Uh, i, started killworks, um. In, at the end of 2014. I was brought on. Uh, during. The end of the year during the winter. Um. So i guess that's. That's. Six, coming up on seven years. Yeah so. That, kind of. That sounds like a long time to me now, um but also. In terms of institutional, time scales, we're still pretty new. Um. And uh we were initially started with some grant funding, uh the alden trust. Um, and. Uh. And it was kind of uh seen as a pilot to see, if uh, this idea of a department, neutral, interdisciplinary. Uh. Space, and program. Uh, could. Mesh well with. What risd, is. Traditionally, seen as strong as. Which is like, the deep traditional. Deep dive into the traditions, of a discipline. Which, obviously is strength, and what a lot of people would want to come to risd4. But, i think a lot of us also realize, that, that can coexist. With, this more. Bridging, and interdisciplinary. Approach to things, and that, they can strengthen each other. Great. Um, david i want to um. Ask you to talk more about the idea of being department, neutral. And interdisciplinary. And sort of what you see the difference between those two terms is. Hmm. Well i think department, neutral means that we try to be, at least my definition, is that we are. We work really hard to be, equally, accessible. To students, and faculty, from all departments, at risd. And that we are trying to make technologies. And processes. Um, as accessible, as possible. Regardless, of what discipline you come from. Often i think.
Especially With like, advanced digital technologies. They're very intimidating. Um to people that don't come from that background. Um. Often, maker spaces. Even, unintentionally. Might feel a bit exclusive. If you're not. Like an industrial, design bro. Or, you know. Sometimes. These types of technologies. Can inadvertently. Kind of have gendered assumptions. Or, maybe. There are language barriers, or all these kinds of considerations. We try really hard, to. You know interrogate, and dismantle, as many of those kind of assumptions, and biases, as possible. Which is part of why we have such an eclectic, mix of equipment. And we have a really diverse. Team, of instructors, and peer tutors. Um. But did i go on a tangent there did i answer your question. No that was perfect i think i hadn't really heard the department, neutral, term um before, coming to coworks, but um, to me you know the departments are so great at what they do but you get some really, amazing things that happen when you leave your department, and, start to work with other materials so the idea that this space, is. Just this space, and open to everyone is just really appealing. Uh let's see, i went off book a little bit there so let me ask a question from, the q a chat. What is the most surprising. Unexpected. Use of a machine you have seen. Hmm. There's. A lot of them. Um. I think i've mentioned some of the good ones already, during the tour. Um. That meat jacket, was. Was pretty great. Um. Had students. Uh, kind of designing their own universes, in vr. And i think the most, interesting. And compelling, kind of, vr, spaces. Were. Done by students. That come from. Painting, that come, from. A. Sculpture. That come from disciplines, that again. You might not automatically. Jump to. When thinking about virtual reality. Um. We've had, students, that. Oh some great apparel, projects, where. Students were laser cutting their own, sequins. And appliques. And. Um. And, uh, creating their own experimental, textiles. Combining, different processes, here and then doing whole like, fashion lines out of them, um. Which you know was so, so great to see and i'm i'm not an apparel person myself. So uh the idea of constructing, apparel. Would be you know, is definitely beyond me, um but to see that happen. Uh with digital fabrication. Tools. And obviously, utilizing, the sewing equipment here as well but to see that combination. Uh was really exciting. Um also what was printed on the cat hair paper. Um. You know i don't remember. I think it was abstract. It i don't think it was like you know a reference. Representational. Or photo type of situation. Um. Yeah that was i was hoping, i was hoping it would be cats on cats but. Let's see how are students, trained to use machines. That they may not be familiar, with. Um, well there are two main avenues, for that, one, it might be part of a course that you're in, that is supported by the lab. Or. You would train on things through the peer tutoring program if it's outside, of the course structure. So, what the peer tutoring program allows, is, for us to make these equipments, and training times available. In a way that is structured. And meshes with around the courses, that we. Have. Um david you mentioned earlier some different, research, partnerships. Can you talk more about the types of research, initiatives, that are happening at coworks. Right so i it's i should clarify it's not specific, to co-works. Co-works, is a lab and incubator, under this larger research umbrella at risd. So. There's an associate provost. Office, of research, and strategic, partnerships. My boss, is the associate, provost. Her name is sarah cunningham. And she. Along with um. Some of the other directors. Uh under her including myself, we support. Research. And. Strategic. Partnerships. Which are, cross-institutional. Or corporate collaborations. At risd. Um. So. To give examples. Of that i guess was part of the question, maybe. Um. Yes or you know i think, you had mentioned. Pulling in some other funding for a specific, project just examples, of those relationships, so so, working with sarah, and the other directors. Um. We might like for instance i mentioned earlier, that we are, uh, getting support from microsoft, this year. In terms of vr technology. And working with. Uh, people that are, in the microsoft, company, to develop kind of strategies. In vr that make sense for art and design education. One of the people, on. The. Vr microsoft, team actually, she did. Her. Mfa, at risd, after doing her computer, science degree. Um i forget what school, but is a friend and colleague of mine and i didn't even realize she was on the microsoft, team until like we all met, uh on zoom, i was like oh my god evelyn, you're oh hey um.
So Like you know, it's not just that we're collaborating, with microsoft, but, you know there was als already crossover, with the institution, that way. Other examples, of uh. That type of thing. Might be. Uh. Well. This is not something i'm directly involved with but it's part of the research, office. There's, uh. The, um. Complexity, lab, which is more of a think tank not a physical lab, um that is working with infosys. Um. On kind of like large world issues like sustainable. Uh systems. And, um. And kind of epidemiology. And things like that but from a design perspective, design systems perspective. Um. Uh, we worked with harvard engineering. That's actually one of our inaugural, courses, um, back in. 2014, 2015. We there's a collaboration, between the glass department, here at risd. With the engineering, department. At harvard. And we had this large. Five-axis. Robotic. Arm. That was donated, by the. Engineering department. And, were they were, figuring out how to hack the arm to be able to 3d print molten glass. So. That was really interesting. And i'm not really a glass person. And even i do have a science background, i used to be a. Cancer and genetics, research scientist, before, i did my mfa, at risd. Um. But i'm not an engineer. In that sense. Um so. Working with, and seeing people work with uh robotic, arms, that were like as tall as a person. Uh was really interesting, and really exciting. Um that's a good segue, to, uh another, question. What are some examples, of co-works, courses. Um. Well actually there's a page, on. The website. That. Lists. Most of the courses we've had, so if you want to see. Those. Um i would suggest you to go there but i don't think there are real descriptions, of those past courses so maybe i'll try to highlight a few right now. And i'm pulling up the web, page so that i can remind myself. Great and we'll put that info into the chat box as well which i think people are taking a look at. We have time for a few more questions, if folks want to um hop into that q a window. Sure. Um i definitely have more questions. Happy to answer more questions did you want me to try to describe some of the courses. Not that i have if you just want to pick one or two or even if you just want to post a link up i think folks are just kind of curious, what you know what the possible offerings are because the the space is so vast and what it can do. I'm pasting the link right now, and then, like one, example one of my favorite examples, recently, was, playing with purpose, toys for social, justice. That was, led by. One was taught by an industrial, design faculty member, who also. Um, worked at hasbro, for a number of years. And she, wanted to. Use. Our technologies. As part of a class of prototype. Toys that were socially, conscious. And were kind of in support, of. Those conversations. Um. What else can i highlight. Well that class also piggybacks, on our tour of the nature lab yesterday, as. Jen was talking about designing within a system.
And With social, justice understanding, that we're not just designing, a piece. Of, something, we're designing something that is meant to be part of a larger, system and change. The way we interact. Which i think is such a great way to think about, you know especially toys which are something that. A lot of people don't think twice about. 100, agreed. All right let's see, um. Is peer mentoring, open to freshmen. Yes, actually. I didn't mean to give, the impression earlier, that. None of the co-works resources. Are. Available to freshmen. Um, if you would like to meet with one of our peer tutors you're more than welcome to. So please. Do. Great. Okay let's see, uh a question on the other side of that how do students apply to be on the co-works, team. There is a link. Page on the website. So check that out there are job descriptions. Uh. Articulating, what we're looking for. But to give an overview. Technical, skills are great, but, also are the things. That are easier for us to teach. We're looking for people, that. Are really, invested, in supporting. Community, and making things accessible. To as many, many, other people as possible. And, are, you know proactive. And really have those interpersonal, skills that make sense for. A, lab and community like this. Great, so david i think we've made it through all those questions. Is there anything else that you want to leave folks with, as we conclude something else about co-works that you haven't touched yet. Hmm. I feel like i've been talking a lot, so i'm not sure. Um. You're doing a great job david. I'm learning a lot. Um. I would. Say. Um. I'm excited to see you at risd. And at coworks. Once you get to risd. And this is not specific, to coworks, but, it can be really easy. To, get. For lack of a better word stuck in your own department. Um, yeah, rizzy is demanding, your coursework, is demanding. But it really, behooves, you. Um, for a number of reasons to seek out things like the nature, lab, like coworks. Like the materials, library. Um, and, uh kind of expand. Uh, what you're exposed to and what is uh. Being incorporated into your work. Um. So i hope to see you. Great, and i want to piggyback, on that too and just say, to remember that you're going to school. In a living city and to get out and actually see a little bit of providence, and what that creative community. Can offer and how it can inform your practice which is great about co-works, because, you are forced to walk downtown. Which already gets you off the main campus. So we're going to wrap up our tour i just want to say thank you to david and thank you to everyone who's joined us here, um i think in the chat box, uh these sessions have been recorded, and will get posted, up so that you can watch them again and see all of our jokes, um a second time around so thank you everyone. Bye. Everybody. You.