Founder and Executive Director Renee Neblett of the Kokrobitey Institute
A WISC Fellows Presentation: Global Art and Philanthropy, sponsored by CCA Santa Fe is 5:30 p.m., Thursday Aug. 22 at CCA Gallery at 1050 Pecos Trail in Santa Fe.
Women’s International Study Center thanks CCA for their generous sponsorship and collaboration in producing this event with us. Register here.
For the month of August, the Women’s International Study Center will host Renee Neblett and Elise McMahon as Fellows-in-Residence. Join us for a presentation about their work.
For over 25 years, the Kokrobitey Institute has hosted long and short-term residential education programs at its campus in Kokrobitey, a fishing village that is an hour outside Accra, the capitol of Ghana. It is a comprehensive design center that works with designers in various fields to design original products that are environmentally sustainable, and then provides job training to Ghana residents and teaches them, among other things, the importance of “being green” and using recycled materials to help conserve the Earth’s resources.
Elise McMahon, Design Director Kokrobitey Institute
The Institute is in an exciting and critical moment of development, having just completed the Alero Olympio Design Center. That Design Center is now the central facility for its new curriculums and projects, as well as the production site for manufacturing products that use recycled materials. The Institute intends to use this new Design Center as an example to encourage other businesses in Ghana to create community spaces that can likewise act as resource centers for residents in their respective communities. The WISC Fellowship will give two key members of the Kokrobitey Institute time to develop the model for this intended expansion, a marketing and business plan, and future curriculums for educational programs that will help teach Ghana residents about the importance of incorporating environmentally sustainable designs into their business plans.
Founder and Executive Director Kokrobitey Institute
Born in Boston, Massachusetts August 30, 1947, Renee Neblett has lived in Ghana for the past 22 years, where she is the founding director of the Kokrobitey Institute. Kokrobitey, a private research and development facility, began its work in 1992, with the goal of making the study of Africa accessible to American students. To that end, Kokrobitey offers short-term and long-term residential programs that explores the linkages of Art and Design, Environmental Studies, History and Culture. A Fellows Program and Teacher Training workshops take place throughout the year alongside internships.
Neblett was a 1985 Researcher at the Project Zero Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and a visiting scholar at Radcliffe College in 1984. She holds an M. Ed. from Goddard College, and a BA and an MFA from Kuenst Akademie, Duesseldorf.
Design Director Kokrobitey Institute
Elise McMahon is an artist, designer, and teacher based in New York and at the Kokrobitey Institute in Ghana. For the last 10 years, she has taught furniture skills and “resourceful design” at schools and studios, including Bard College at Simon’s Rock, The Textile Arts Center, and 3rd Ward Studios.
In addition to teaching, Ms. McMahon maintains an independent art and design career. She designs interior spaces and makes custom furniture for clients such as Artsy, Kwambio, and Basilica Hudson. She also has design installations in galleries in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
McMahon has a deep interest in the way in which designed spaces and systems can improve the quality of life for creators, consumers, and observers. With each object and project, she aims to challenge the mass-produced interiors and experiences that we commonly accept in our modern world.
McMahon obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the Rhode Island School of Design, with a focus on furniture design.