A humble act first born of necessity, repair is an expression of resistance to the unmaking of our world and the environment. Repair and Design Futures is a multidisciplinary exhibition and programming series that investigates mending as material intervention, metaphor, and as a call to action. In this context, repair is framed as a useful exercise applied to beloved textiles and as a global, socially engaged practice within contemporary art and design culture, addressing environmental and sociopolitical ruptures.

Objects range from Japanese boro garments and Indian Kutch quilts to a hunter’s ensemble from Mali, a Naskapi caribou coat, Swiss worker’s trousers, and fashionable and utilitarian American clothing. Close examination of darns, patches, and stabilized areas of these emotive, often everyday objects acts as a springboard to considering and discussing the ways in which mending can serve as a visual and emotional aid to socially engaged design thinking.

Repair and Design Futures is made possible by a generous grant from the Coby Foundation and programming support from the RISD Museum Associates. The RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and the RISD Museum Board of Governors.