RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN (RISD)
Keetra Dean Dixon is a designer whose work inhabits speculative terrain, leveraging emergent technologies and process-focused making. She lived in NYC and rural Alaska before relocating to Providence to teach at RISD. Her work earned a U.S. Presidential Award, a place in the permanent design collection at SFMOMA and an ADC Young Gun Award (in 2008). Her clients have included The New York Times, Nike, VW and Coach. She acted as Design Director for installations featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale and has shown at the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC. In 2015, Dixon was a featured speaker at the Type Directors Club and the AIGA Design Conference.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
I’ve been working with different modes of experiential design for about 17 years. My role often involves orchestrating moments which engage an audience via curiosity, discovery, and contribution to an evolving narrative. I fell in love with setting the stage for learning. My role in education is an extension of that process amplified by the classroom context and determination of the students. Watching others find ways to extending those moment of engagement is always a delight and the reason why I’m here.
IS THERE A SPECIAL CHALLENGE TO EDUCATING STUDENTS IN 2017 IN LIGHT OF TODAY’S CULTURE OR ECONOMICS OR TECHNOLOGY OR POLITICS OF THIS MOMENT?
The extremes of our current context feel more pronounced, but it’s the speed of change that seems most impactful. The frenzy that can be intimidating, but the rapid pace resists stagnation and can act as an equalizer in the classroom. Learning to contend with the constant shift, adapting to the new and unknown, helps to flatten hierarchies; teacher and student become beginners together. This disruption/ adaptation process highlights how vital it is to integrate a love of learning into a longterm creative practice.