Imagine being able to spend one amazing day immersed in learning about sustainable design—and meeting the people who have pioneered new thinking and practices. On Saturday, April 2, 2016, Pratt’s CSDS will present the sixth annual Sustainability Crash Course, a day-long series of workshops with a host of experts from Pratt’s sustainable design faculty and elsewhere. With over 20 speakers, it is sure to be a fantastic day of exploration and inspiration! Registration required. Space is limited.

View videos of the presentations on our YouTube channel here.


Pratt Institute – 200 Willoughby Avenue.
Engineering Building. Brooklyn, NY 11205

Presentation Schedules:

10:00am – 10:50am

Addressing Community Need Through Design
Waste Not, Want Not
Axiologue: The Search For The Sustainable Shoe

11:00am – 11:50am

Biomimicry: Interior Design Strategies And Examples
Pratt’s “Window Wall”
Deep Green Building

1:00pm – 2:30pm

“Kombit: The Cooperative” – Film
Sustainable Jewelry Panel
Why Diy?

2:40pm – 4:10pm

Leviathan Film Screening And Panel Discussion
Sustainable Fashion Panel

4:10pm – 5:30pm Closing Reception

Featured Presentations:

Sustainable Jewelry Panel

Alexia Cohen, Jamie McGlinchey at Melissa Joy Manning Inc, Blair Lauren Brown, Christina Miller and Wing Yau.

Alexia Cohen
Alexia Cohen was born and raised in Caracas the capital city of Venezuela, where she learned to appreciate the clash between the urban and natural environments from an early age. With an affinity for the arts, Cohen had the opportunity to further her education oversees. After a year of taking a variety of courses in the United States and Europe, she settled at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design where, in 2006, she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Jewelry and Metals with Honors and Distinction. Soon after graduating she began to show her artwork with notable galleries in the United States such as Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, MA and Gallery Loupe in Montclair, NJ. After moving to Brooklyn, NY, in 2009, Alexia began to develop a small jewelry line, which she has exhibited in trade shows on the East Coast along with her art jewelry pieces. Cohen is a Visiting Professor and the Studio Technician at Pratt Institute’s jewelry program in Brooklyn. In 2013 Alexia was chosen to participate in Haystack School of Crafts’ first “Open Studio Residency” where she was able to explore new ideas for her up and coming work.

Jamie McGlinchey, Melissa Joy Manning Inc
A graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University where she was President of the Jewelry & Metalsmithing club, Jamie McGlinchey has had a love for jewelry since she was child.

As the Design and Development Manager at Melissa Joy Manning Inc, Jamie McGlinchey oversees the production of the jewelry from concept to completion. Additionally, Jamie is responsible for sourcing the unique and unusual stones found in the collection and accompanies Melissa on her buying trips.

A self professed rock geek and responsible design advocate; Jamie is also a certified yoga instructor and wellness enthusiast. Jamie’s holistic life balance is reflected in her authentic desire to work within a responsible company, pushing the perceptions of precious while improving Melissa Joy Manning’s corporate footprint.

Melissa Joy Manning is a socially responsible fine jewelry brand featuring unique, modern designs influenced by her passion for travel, art and culture. As the co-chair of the CFDA Sustainability Committee, and as an advisory board member to both Lexus/CFDA Fashion Positive and Nest, Melissa continues not only to push the perceptions of precious, but also those of manufacturing processes in the fashion and jewelry worlds. Melissa’s work can be found in over 300 accounts worldwide and at her namesake boutiques in Berkeley, CA and in Soho & Brooklyn, NY.

Blair Lauren Brown
Blair Lauren Brown is sustainably handcrafted American & artisan jewelry. The line is a labor of love and a soul craft. Each and every piece is designed and produced by Blair Lauren Brown. Born into a 112 year legacy of handcrafted fine jewelry, Blair is working in the same tradition as her family before her.  Hand finishing every piece, designing with raw uncut diamonds & pure 24k gold nuggets allows a unique story to be told with every piece. All of the pieces are handmade in the USA & locally produced in Brooklyn, New York. 

Handmade in Brooklyn, New York, we uphold a 115-year Alaskan legacy of raw and refined design. Honoring the land from which they come, minerals are ethically extracted pure raw Alaskan gold, ethically sourced gemstones and recycled precious metals. Honoring the people, collections are handmade and gold nuggets are sourced exclusively in the US, from small family owned businesses. We will continue to uphold and improve the best practices in jewelry and are committed to using our business as a vehicle of empowerment by openly sharing our process and stance.

With a deep appreciation for nature, and a commitment to sustainability, preservation is paramount. The refined gold and sterling silver used are certified recycled precious metals, and all the stones are responsibly sourced and conflict free. As Blair has said, “I have designed this line out of a pure love for the outdoors and an absolute respect for the rough and wild place where I was born. It’s in my blood. Alaska is the untamed place where nature continues on, and what stays the same is the coming and going of seasons in a completely rugged landscape.”

Balancing her mountain town upbringing and the contrasting pace of the city Blair is constantly on the move. Picking up stories along the way, the collections are inspired by Blair’s inner Gypsy and an appreciation for history. Saturated with symbolism speaking to generations of tradition and the crossing of cultures Blair Lauren Brown has created a jewelry collection that walks a fine line between raw and sophisticated.

Christina Tatiana Miller
Christina T. Miller is an independent consultant inspiring and mentoring bold social and environmental leadership in jewelry and the arts. Miller’s background as an artist, art professor as well as her 11 year history with Ethical Metalsmiths* as co-founder, former executive director and most recently advisory council chair makes her a sought after resource. She shares her expertise with individuals, universities, companies and non-profit organizations seeking to creatively address sustainability goals. In 2016 Miller launched Christina Tatiana Miller Consulting and current clients include Richline Group (a Berkshire-Hathaway Company) – in its efforts address wildlife and biodiversity issues, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance – a responsible mining standard and certification scheme and Merzatta – an independent jeweler.

One of Christina’s favorite aspects of being a consultant is working with independent jewelers to help them realize their best practice goals within their small businesses. Christina presents regularly at schools and universities such as Mass College of Art & Design, Virginia Commonwealth University and Pratt Institute. She holds a BFA from Millersville University, PA and an MFA from East Carolina University, NC.

*Ethical Metalsmiths is a non-profit advocacy organization founded in 2004 that strives to engage jewelry students, to bring attention to the responsible and pioneering practices of independent jewelers and to increase responsibility in the jewelry industry overall. In 2013 EM successfully introduced FAIRMINED gold to the US in collaboration with 23 independent jewelers and is the designer of its popular Radical Jewelry Makeover project going strong since 2007.

Wing Yau
Wing Yau is the designer behind New York-based brand, WWAKE. Hailing from a background in sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design, she assisted NYC artists and galleries before falling into design. WWAKE was established in 2012 with the intention of merging art with the intimacy of jewelry, and has since developed into the full line of fine jewelry it is today. Dinstiguished by opals and its non-traditionally light and airy settings, WWAKE was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 and is one of ten finalists in the CFDA Lexus Fashion* Initiative. Its goal is to develop a responsible practice driven by art and design.

Sustainable Fashion Panel

Tara St. James
Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Tara St James moved to New York City in 2004. She now calls Brooklyn home. St James graduated in 1997 from LaSalle College School of Fashion Design in Montreal, one of Canada’s top design programs, with a degree in menswear tailoring. Prior to graduation she spent a year studying French art & literature in Toulouse, France. 

After 10 years designing mens and womenswear in both Canada and the US, Tara launched the New York based label Study NY. Conceptual design & sustainability define this women’s RTW brand. Study cuts & sews collections in NYC’s garment district using both ethical fabrics and production methods. Many elements from the collections collaborate with artisans around the world; for example, locally sourced Peruvian alpaca is used in much of the knitwear.

Shortly after starting Study NY, Tara focused on educating the next generation of designers on the importance of sustainability in design. She has extensive lecturing and teaching experience in NYC.  Some of the courses Tara has taught as a part of FIT‘s Sustainability Certificate include: Corporate Social Responsibility, Supply Chain, and Sustainable Materials & Eco Labels. She has also critiqued and lectured at Parsons, Pratt and FIT. Currently Tara is working as Production Coordinator and Research Fellow in the Sustainable Strategies Lab for Pratt’s new Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. 

In 2011 Study NY was awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Grant for sustainable design. In 2013 St James’s Anti-[fashion]-Calendar was named one of Sustainia100 Solutions for Sustainability–a global initiative spearheaded by Arnold Schwarznegger to promote innovative global solutions across all industries. In 2014 Study was awarded runner up in the CFDA / Lexus Eco Fashion Challenge. 

Tara St James thrives on challenging her own preconceptions about design. Though vocal about her choice to use sustainable and ethical design principles for her label, Tara wants to be judged the same way all designers are judged, ostensibly for her design.

Joshua Katcher is a fashion instructor at Parsons The New School. He is currently writing his first book, FASHION ANIMALS, and has lectured on that topic at Princeton, The American University of Paris, Parsons, Brown, UPenn, and FIT among others. Katcher started the first men’s ethical lifestyle website, The Discerning Brute in 2008. Katcher launched the Brave GentleMan label and eCommerce platform in 2010, spearheading the first vegan, ethically-made menswear fashion brand that utilizes organic, recycled and hi-tech materials. In October of 2015 Brave GentleMAn opened its first store in Brooklyn. Katcher was awarded Most Influential Designer of 2015 by PETA, he is named 2014 Man Of The Year by COCO ECO Magazine, a “modern day hero in the making” by The Wild Magazine, and both an “ethical style icon” and one of the top 10 male bloggers by Veg News Magazine. He is a contributor to Huffington Post Style and LAIKA Magazine, has appeared on the cover of Vegan Good Life Magazine, and has been interviewed on major networks, such as Al Jazeera America as an expert in the field of vegan fashion.  Learn more: &

Lucia Cuba explores and constructs garments as performative and critical devices, at the intersection of design and activism. As a public health and fashion design scholar Cuba is interested in issues of gender, biopolitics and global fashion practices. Her interdisciplinary works transverse international spaces of contemporary art and fashion. She has received several awards for her work including the Fulbright Scholarship (2010-2012), the Design for Development Award at the Iberoamerican Design Biennale (2012) and the Han Nefkens “Fashion on the Edge” Award (2014). Her work was recently showcased at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York. It is currently on view at the Albuquerque Museum and at the Centre d’Art la Panera in Lleida. Currently based in New York, Cuba is an Assistant Professor of Fashion at Parsons School of Fashion and works as an independent designer. +   

Dr. Otto von Busch is full time faculty at Integrated Design, School of Design Strategies, and point person for the minor in Alternative Fashion Strategies. In his research he explores the emergence of a new hacktivist designer role in fashion, where the designer engages participants to reform fashion from a phenomenon of dictations, anxiety and fear, into a collective experience of empowerment and liberation.In such practice, design and craft is reverse engineered, hacked and shared among many participants as a form of civic engagement, building community capabilities through collaborative craft and social activism.

Kombit Film Screening 

Once known as the richest agricultural country in the Caribbean, Haiti has been wracked by instability and natural disasters. Decades of decline have taken their toll on Haiti’s people, and today the country is 98% deforested with little of its once prosperous agricultural industry enduring. When Timberland commits to creating a sustainable intervention in Haiti that will lead to 5 million trees in 5 years, they work to find partners that understand the harsh realities of aid work but share the vision to build something sustainable.

Over the course of 5 years, we follow Timberland’s support of a nascent partnership between a Haitian agronomist and a former NGO leader that commit to empowering communities of farmers to plant millions of trees while improving their crop yields. As the end of Timberland’s financial support approaches, SFA’s leaders race to develop new markets and opportunities for Haitian farmers that will endure and ensure a sustainable, greener future.

Gabriel London
As partner and creative director of Found Object, Gabriel conceives of content and strategy for CSR and NGO clients looking to create a public impact. With a background in documentary filmmaking, Gabriel’s career focus has been on storytelling around major policy issues of the day. He has produced and directed films and campaigns that bring overlooked stories to an international audience, dealing with issues ranging from prison conditions to climate change. Gabriel has provided strategy and directed campaigns for organizations ranging from large multinational companies to small NGOs. His films have been broadcast nationally and internationally on television networks such as MTV, and featured in festivals including IDFA, Urbanworld Film Festival, and Live Earth.

Leah Goudsmit, Editor
Leah Goudsmit was born in Amsterdam in 1985, but moved to the US at 18 to study both history and film at Brandeis University. After University Leah decided to integrate her interest in social studies with film, and work in the documentary field. She has specialized in editing documentary with a commercial feel, working for Timberland, Toyota, NRG Energy, on corporate responsibility pieces, and editing trailers for feature documentaries. In 2015, Leah edited the film Kombit:The Cooperative, which premiered at SXSW Eco the same year. 

Addressing Community Need Through Design

Sustainability isn’t just about finding solutions to environmental issues; it is also about seeking out opportunities for long-term impact. Through her firm, TYTHEdesign, Kristina explores wide-ranging social issues using design as a tool for community engagement and problem solving. With a human-centered focus, TYTHE has worked collaboratively with non-profits, city agencies, and social enterprise to create lasting impact to nuanced challenges in New York and abroad. Learn how Kristina and her team work to support communities from within.

Kristina Drury is a social entrepreneur, designer, and educator. Her mission-driven firm, TYTHEdesign, uses the lens of design and strategy to support social good organizations develop creative solutions, build their capacity and enhance their impact. Under her leadership TYTHE has increased the community impact of over 75 local and global social good organizations including the NYC Dept. of Education, Citi Community Development, The Earth Institute and California State Library System.

Prior to founding TYTHEdesign, Kristina co-led Project H Design, a charitable organization focused on design for social change. Her diverse background includes work in corporate social responsibility, education, social innovation, industrial design, and architecture. She holds a Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a Bachelors of Science in Architecture from McGill University.

Kristina’s work and publications have taken root around the globe. She has also been honored by numerous organizations, including the United Nations, Museum of Art and Design, Core 77, Pratt Institute, and the Centre for Social Innovation. Kristina has been a featured speaker at The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Clinton Global Initiative, Harvard University and Columbia University.


Join A. Bernadette for a conversation on the importance of education within the sustainability movement. How can we empower consumers with information and education? Can transparency in labeling empower consumers to make better choices? How can the DIY movement revolutionize the fashion industry? Help us answer these question and more.

A. Bernadette was born out of sisters – Andrea and Amberle’s passion for exploration. Their travels took them to Jinja, Uganda where they worked with two Fair Trade producer groups.

Leviathan Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Leviathan is a 2012 documentary film directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel about fishing practices in the North Atlantic. The Village Voice wrote that the “density of aural and visual stimuli overwhelms—and liberates,” with the The New York Times stating: “Where most documentaries prize clarity, this one attests to the power of estrangement.”

The panel features commentary by Pratt Institute Sustainability Minors Katelyn Curto (Industrial Design), Bridget Russell (History of Art and Design) and Linnea Ryshke (Painting), moderated by Jen Telesca (Assistant Professor of Environmental Justice, SSCS, Pratt Institute).

Jennifer E. Telesca (PhD NYU, 2014) is Assistant Professor of Environmental Justice at Pratt Institute. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to ocean studies, and explores in her forthcoming book how global elites govern the seas and decide the fate of the iconic Atlantic bluefin tuna, now depleted. Her work appears in the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, Humanity, and, this fall,Environment and Society.

Bridget Russell is a senior in the History of Art and Design program at Pratt Institute. Bridget works with many mediums of art in her studies, but she most enjoys collaborating with artists and helping to engage their work with a political and historical context. She is also pursuing a minor in sustainability studies and has been active with NYPIRG and the Black Lives Matter movement in New York City.

Linnea Ryshke is a Senior Painting major who uses her work to address the complexities of the relationship between humans and non-human animals. Her minor in Sustainability has also supplied and driven the content for her work. She is interested in the way artistic expression can contribute to broader social and political dialogs.

Katelyn Curto is a senior in the Industrial Design program. Her interests in design research, production processes, and user-centered design, combined with her Sustainability Studies minor, broaden her understanding of consumption and waste practices of today. She values designs that become treasured belongings and the drive to personally engage users with the knowledge of their possessions’ entire lifecycle.

The Search for the Sustainable Shoe: building a free, open-source, user-driven web app to find ethically produced goods

An increasing number of manufacturers recognize that consumers want responsibly produced products (fair labor standards, minimal environmental impacts over their lifecycle, without harm to animals, and so on). However, the media has uncovered time and again that many products on the market are produced under morally questionable conditions. Reliable information about how products are produced is often hidden, scattered, and difficult to decode. This session will follow the development of the Axiologue project, a crowd-sourced, community-driven webapp that puts comprehensive ethical information in the hands of consumers. It will also examine the possibility and limits of a ‘consumer ethic’ from the perspective of various philosophers who have written on the topics.

Matt Nishi-Broach is an artist, teacher, and activist, and one of the co-founders of Axiologue. His work focuses on art as ethical practice, and his involvement in the Axiologue project is part of his ongoing exploration of the intersections between art, technology, and ethics. He has taught at numerous undergraduate and graduate institutions, including CalArts, Rutgers, Brooklyn College, and mostly recently Pratt’s Digital Arts Department. He has as BA in Art from Yale University and an MFA in Experimental Animation and Integrated Media from CalArts.

Eric S. Godoy is an environmental ethicist who writes on collective responsibility and climate change. He has taught courses intersecting with philosophy, politics, and sustainability at Pratt Institute since 2009. He is currently Assistant Chairperson of Pratt’s Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies. He received his PhD from the New School for Social Research in 2014. He became interested in Axiologue as a way of putting into practice some of the moral principles that are necessary for addressing the kinds of collective action problems that he studies.

Biomimicry: Interior Design Strategies and Examples

3.8 million years of design & development by nature + human adaptation + benefits for the human/environment.
The presentation is to showcase one of the Option Lab courses taught in the Interior Design program. It will include summary of the lectures as well as students’ design proposals from the last semester.

By understanding the principle of Biomimicry 3.8, (geometric analysis, growth pattern, structural function, etc) the class does not teach how to only mimic form/function. It explores the life cycle analysis as well as the indoor environmental quality in some ways that benefit human health/environment.

Presented by Interior Design Department, Prof. Tetsu Ohara, Students (Suching Chang, Caroline Blancpain & Elizabeth Mayhle)
Tetsu Ohara is an adjunct associate professor and director of sustainability in the Department of Interior Design and has been leading the Pratt Sustainability Coalition for the last 8 years. He is also a partner at SpatialDesignStudio, Inc in the NYC.

Building with Hempcrete: Using ancient materials to respond to critical needs of the postmodern environment.

“Hempcrete” is a mixture of lime and the inner core of the hemp stalk. Finished with lime plaster, this non-structural material can achieve a monolithic wall that is insulating, moisture permeable, solidly enveloping, and that sequesters more carbon than it requires to produce. With simplicity and aesthetic appeal, hempcrete easily checks off the criteria of green building.

Pamela Bosch is a hempcrete pioneer learning mainly from European builders. She has a Fine Arts education which corresponds with her life-long intrinsic values. Relating to the purpose of art as driver of social and cultural evolution, she finds that, at this time, our relationship with the physical environment is in urgent need of creative adaptation. The Highland Hemp House is a legacy canvas to future generations.

Pratt’s “Window Wall” in Contrast to Other Multi-Layered Facades

In its tenth year and with several sustainable projects underway, the Christina Porter Memorial Lighting Lab in the School of Architecture is engaged in applied research and design to find a less complicated “window wall” solution for architecture in the New York City area if not in other regions. Refinement of the detailed triple glazed construction and progressive simulations in sunlight guided by an accurate sundial for NYC have led to a final prototype to be manufactured by a renown local company. The project was featured most recently at the Illinois Energy Fair as well as evaluated by various architects and engineers. The south facing “window wall” consists of colored photovoltaic glazing from Spain or Denmark which allows daylight to pass through. With the PV glazing either red or green, the second layer of glass is the opposite color. At the center are horizontal fins, each set at a slightly different angle to reflect sunlight largely to the ceiling from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm throughout the year. Then the third, interior glazing is the new blue glass which greatly enhances the circadian functioning of the brain as well as improves visual acuity.

Brent Porter, Adjunct Professor of the School of Architecture, is in his 43rd year at Pratt where among his on-going teaching is his role as head of the Christina Porter Memorial Lighting Lab. It is exploring sustainable skylights, building facades including the “window wall,” thermal wall components for daylighting in Canada, integration of photovoltaics and green roofs, and commitment to solar access — while at the same time, experimenting with a variety of LED and other lighting fixtures. His practice as an architect is engaged in a number of sustainable renovations, restorations and new facilities.
The on-going work of sustainability within the historic Machu Picchu has led to his team’s addressing the town below where 800,000 people arrive and depart each year, yet one-third of the roofs and top floors are incomplete with vertical rebars evident of the lack of sustainability which must be resolved.

Waste Not, Want Not

Waste Not Want Not was born out of the desire from two people in the fashion industry wanting to reduce their impact on the environment, and inform other people how they could do the same. It looks to shine a light on the grave environmental impacts of our ever more voracious consumer economy, and to offer practical solutions that anyone can make use of to reduce their impact. The website created from this project aspires to be a resource for those interested in taking an active role in reducing their impact on landfill waste, and in the amount of used clothing sent to emerging markets. 

Jonathan Bell is currently on the Global Merchandising team at Coach inc. specializing in visual production and logistics coordination. Prior to this, he worked in retail on the visual merchandising team at Urban Outfitters. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (B.A. ’11), a Master of Science degree in Business Analysis ( MS.B.A ’12) from The Catholic University of America, and recently completed a Master of Professional Studies program in Global Fashion Management at The Fashion Institute of Technology (MPS ’16). 

Anthony Millero is a seasoned merchandiser with experience in men’s and women’s sportswear, designer, mid-tier and jeans markets at DKNY, TSE, Liz Claiborne and Calvin Klein. He is a recent graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology’s Global Fashion Management master’s degree program, which explores topics from digital marketing, supply chain management, business policy and corporate social responsibility. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he concentrated on media studies and urban sociology.