Designer Comes to Bennington College and Shares Strategies to Bridge Cultures through Design

May 05, 2008

International artist Mimi Robinson designs commercially celebrated products, and four months out of the year, she designs solutions. As founder of the organization Bridging Cultures Through Design (BCTD), Robinson develops international programs that allows her to work directly with local artists on sustainable business ideas that preserve their culture and traditional skills. Robinson—who visits Bennington College on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, at 7:00 pm in Barn 100—will share her experiences promoting, celebrating, and supporting the creative traditions that have helped international communities develop “micro-art” economies. This event is free and open to the public.

Robinson, a Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) alumna, recently traveled with nine RISD students to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Together students and a community of weavers collaborated to create a line of textiles, bags, and accessories, which launched at the New York International Gift Show and have sold in local, regional, and international markets. Not unlike her previous work, this endeavor has inspired a more vibrant artisan economy that has made an impact in these local economies.

Helping to ignite a greater emphasis on handmade items and connecting indigenous people to their cultural artistic traditions, Robinson’s past projects have taken her to the Caribbean island of Dominica, where she worked with local artisans to collect old rum and wine bottles and turned them into lamp bases. In Ghana, she collaborated with local craftspeople to melt down a supply of recycled brass spigots to construct a variety of candleholders that were sold at Gump's and other high-end retailers. And at the invitation of the U.S. State Department, Robinson went to Kyrgyzstan, as a cultural envoy to work with students on felt-making traditions.

For more information, call (802) 440-4302.