Rhode Island School of Design and N Square Collaborate to Explore New Approaches to Addressing Nuclear Proliferation

A network of innovators collaborating on new solutions to nuclear weapons threat will come together November 13-16, 2018 for the N Square Innovation Summit at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). N Square and RISD will co-host the intensive program with longtime partners PopTech and Nucleus. The summit will comprise master classes in design and topic-specific workshops, culminating in Signals for the Future: New Ways to Tackle Nuclear Risk, an exhibition and discussion.

Signals for the Future, the capstone event of the summit, will take place on November 15 at RISD (20 Washington Place). The exhibition will showcase new tools and ideas developed by members of the inaugural cohort of fellows from the N Square Innovators Network (NSIN). NSIN is a community of cross-sector leaders – data scientists, nuclear weapons experts, designers, historians, technologists, policy experts, diplomats, Hollywood filmmakers and producers, and many others – working to prototype and pilot breakthrough approaches to nuclear proliferation while accelerating achievement of international nuclear arms control and disarmament objectives. The exhibition opening will feature presentations of key ideas, followed by a discussion with philanthropists in the nuclear threat reduction field. For full details and to RSVP, click here.

The N Square Innovation Summit at RISD & Signals for the Future will explore how we might collaboratively:

  • use open source data to identify, track, understand and prevent security breaches that pose a threat to humanity
  • engage new people, facilitate new partnerships and accelerate the development, integration and adoption of new ideas and approaches related to nuclear threat reduction
  • use cultural pressure and social influence to spark innovation and create policy changes that reduce or eliminate nuclear danger

N Square and RISD began collaborating in 2016, working together to involve RISD students and faculty in N Square’s mission to innovate our way to a world free from the risks associated with nuclear weapons and fissile materials.

“Design can contribute to new thinking around foreign policy and global security, but designers can’t do it alone. We can’t even come close to having an impact until we understand the culture and constraints of the disciplines that have devoted their careers to these issues,” said Tom Weis, assistant professor, RISD Industrial Design. “The collaboration with N Square and the Innovation Summit will help bridge this gap by bringing together experts from varied fields eager to collaborate with designers to explore new approaches to very complex problems. Design alone won’t save the world – but given a seat at the table, it just might contribute in ways we’ve yet to imagine.”

“Nuclear weapons have shaped global policy and culture for over 70 years. The dangers they represent have become more complex. Whether we look at these weapons as instruments of psychological terror or deterrents of world war, whether we are dedicated to securing them or abolishing them altogether, we can all agree they pose some of the greatest challenges known to humankind,” said Erika Gregory, managing director, N Square. “RISD-trained designers make excellent partners in addressing these challenges because of their disciplined approach to observation, exploration, testing and refinement of solutions and their impact on both people and systems.”

About Rhode Island School of Design

The mission of RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”), through its college and museum, is to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation. Our immersive model of art and design education emphasizes robust liberal arts studies and conceptually driven studio-based learning in full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree programs across 19 majors. RISD’s exceptional faculty foster student growth and development in extensive specialized facilities, enabling students to become confident, cross-disciplinary thinkers and nimble problem-solvers ready to confront the complexities of global practice in the 21st century. More than 27,000 alumni worldwide testify to the impact of a RISD education, exemplifying the vital role artists and designers play in defining global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit risd.edu and our.risd.edu.

About N Square

In 2013, five of the largest peace and security funders in the United States joined forces to develop a new, collective approach to incentivize and reward innovation that reduces the threats associated with nuclear weapons. What emerged was N Square, a path-breaking initiative built on the idea that new forms of cross-sector collaboration—combined with the sheer ingenuity of an engaged public—will accelerate the achievement of internationally agreed goals to reduce nuclear dangers.

A project of the New Venture Fund, N Square is a hands-on alliance between staff, funders, and advisors working together to bring new ideas, new people, and new perspectives to nuclear arms control. By fostering “high-impact collisions” between experts from diverse backgrounds, we help nuclear specialists gain new perspectives on the possibilities of their work as innovators and influencers from other fields identify smart ways to apply their own expertise to solving some of our toughest nuclear challenges.


Michelle DiLello
Vice President, Architecture and Design Blue Medium Inc. michelle@bluemedium.com
T: +1 (212) 675-1800