Social Practice: New Directions in Community Engaged Art and Design



This panel conversation on new directions in social practice art and design took place on Wednesday, February 1 at 6:30pm in the first floor auditorium of the RISD Administration Building at 20 Washington Place. Organized by Intercultural Student Engagement and Center for Complexity, we discussed new directions in social practice through community-engaged art and design featuring the following panelists:

Sio Man Lam: Civic Arts Program Coordinator for Public Art, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Carlos Medellin: Assistant Professor, Architecture Department, RISD

Shey Rivera Ríos: Artist, MA ‘23 (Global Arts and Cultures)

Elder González Trejo: Climate Justice Specialist, Sustainability Policy Associate, City of Providence, Rhode Island


Panelist Bios 

Sio Man Lam is the Civic Arts Program Coordinator at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and directs the city’s civic arts initiatives, including the Public Artists in Residence program, a pilot program that embeds artists within municipal agencies to address civic challenges through creative and collaborative projects.

Carlos Medellin is an Assistant Professor in the Architecture Department at RISD.  He is a spatial designer interested in building spaces for social engagement and individual empowerment. Through his work, he approaches design as a social practice by exploring how space can address the structural inequity that shapes our society.

Shey Rivera Ríos is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and arts administrator. They served as the former Artistic/Co-Director of AS220 and Director of Inclusive Regional Development at MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) in the Dept of Urban Studies and Planning of MIT.  Rivera’s work interweaves art and culture, civic engagement, and urban planning.

Elder González Trejo, who hails from Guatemala, grew up immersed in the rich and diverse communities of Providence. Elder is an active member of various social equity and environmental justice boards and commissions, has worked as Director of Community Programs for the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and now serves the City of Providence as the Sustainability Policy Associate focusing on climate justice initiatives.