Rosa Weinberg is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based design educator and artist trained as an architect. Her creative practice and teaching focus on the body through the design and fabrication of sculptural wearables, assistive devices for people with disabilities, and speculative prosthetics. She uses design as a critical practice by conducting research and interviews to question the status quo and see beyond dominant narratives. Her teaching work has led her to write about teaching and learning in design education. She is highly skilled in digital fabrication and the associated software.
She is currently teaching in the industrial design departments at RISD and Keene State College. For the past six years, she taught at NuVu Studio, a full-time innovation school for middle and high school students based on the architectural studio model. At NuVu she was a Senior Coach and the Director of Studio Development. At NuVu she taught nearly 60 two- to three-week studios (50-75 hours each), working with students on more than 300 novel projects. During the 2020 Spring term she was on the teaching team for Product and Experience Design for Desirability at Harvard University.
She is deeply interested in how best to foster creativity and collaboration in open-ended project-based learning. Central to her teaching is the idea of “concept”, imported from architecture and art, which is used as a tool to address the project’s cultural and/or natural context. When paired with critique, “concept” adds depth and rigor to a student’s design process. She has begun a writing project that will include a number of essays exploring this topic and others related to design education. In addition, she wrote an essay in collaboration with Yusuf Ahmad at Lifelong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab and David Alsdorf on how to ensure that creativity and collaboration stay central to a student’s experience in a virtual classroom during Covid-19.
As an educator she is dedicated to helping students move past implicit biases and cliches and to working with them to develop generative concepts for their projects. She has developed approaches for teaching digital fabrication to both beginners and advanced students. Drawing on her extensive professional and personal network, Weinberg creates rich experiences for students by designing studios in which students interact with clients and subject-matter experts.
She recently completed a functional wearable with integrated electronics for researcher and dancer Ilya Vidrin, and she has an ongoing collaboration with critically acclaimed dancer and choreographer Heidi Latsky. Her focus on dancers has led her to invent her current project “Classp”, a novel mechanism for attaching clothing to the body. She is currently collaborating with dancer and choreographer Emily Beattie and Poet U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo.
Her work and her students’ work have been presented in diverse contexts, including Boston Fashion Week, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Lincoln Center Outdoors and publicized on NPR and Mashable. She has given talks and written about creativity for Processing Community Day, Boston Tech Poetics, and Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook, and she has been interviewed for Boston Art Review.
Weinberg received a BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics from the London School of Economics and an M.Arch from the Yale School of Architecture. She is a co-organizer for Boston Tech Poetics, a member of the Guild of Future Architects, on the board for Mbadika, the artistic advisory board for Heidi Latsky Dance, and is a licensed architect.