amidst geologic time


Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) | Providence, RI
    Bachelors of Architecture, Bachelors of Fine Arts (B.Arch, B.F.A.) 
    With Honors
    Nature/Culture/Sustainability Studies | Minor


Rhode Island COVID Young Adult Task Force Member 
    With the Governor’s office and office of Post-Secondary 
RISD Center for Arts and Language | Multiliteracy Center
SUNRISE Providence | Art Team


2023 Swale House Re-Imagining Conservation: From the Ground 
     Up | Governor’s Island, NYC
2023 SinPVD Art of the Tides: Youth Exhibition | Providence, RI
2022 Granoff Center Re-Examining Conservation | Providence, RI
2022 Bayard Ewing Building Architecture Undergaduate Thesis 
     Show | Providence, RI
2021 UnionDocs Center for Documentary Arts Early Development 
     Lab - Residency | Brooklyn, NYC
2018 - 2021 RISD ISB Gallery, National Museum of Wildlife Art 
     Urban Wildlife: Learning to Co-Exist | Providence, RI and 
     Jackson Hole, WY
2018 TwentyOne8 All Things Colorado | Colorado Springs, CO
2017 The Bridge Gallery Perspective | Colorado Springs, CO
2017 The Gallery Below NatureNurture | Colorado Springs, CO
2015 Studio 101 Variations | Colorado Springs, CO


2024 Fulbright Finalist Ecuador | U.S. Dept. of State, IIE Research Arts
2022 Maharam Fellowship for Social Justice and Sustainability 
     Quito, Ecuador
2022 Fulbright Semifinalist | U.S. Dept. of State, IIE Research Arts
2022 Architecture Department Leadership Award | Rhode Island 
     School of Design (RISD)
2022 The Frictionless Plane | published in Volume.1
2020 Maine Policy and Program Reviews | published with the 
     Renew New England Coalition
2020 Magpies | published in Volume.1
2019 - 2020 Peter Guimond Memorial Scholarship | Rhode Island 
     School of Design (RISD) Department of Architecture
2018 Elizabeth Jones Scholarship | Rhode Island School of Design
     (RISD) Department for Experimental and Foundational Studies 


2023 Conservation Ethics, Creature Conserve | Providence, Rhode
     Island | December, 10
2023 Amazonian Vernacular, Perkins Eastman Guayaquil | 
    Guayaquil, Ecuador | May, 10
2022 Research Ethics, Creature Conserve | Providence, Rhode 
     Island | December, 11


Maharam Fellows Make a Difference
Momentum: Focusing on Service
Brown Climate and Development Lab Brings New Wave of Climate Change Countermovement Research to DC Policymakers, Activists
Beyond Covid: 5 Projects Paving the Way to a New Normal - Aerocene Ecosystem & Post-Covid Futuring
Maharam Fellowship: Ancient Traditions, Modern Reincarnations
Maharam Fellowship: Material Methods, Mapping Home
Maharam Fellowship: New Beginnings

Derek Russell is a queer environmental sociologist and architect, with a background in interdisciplinary artmaking. With experience as a vernacular architect, he has been conducting research on sustainable building materials that adapt to climate disaster in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the indigenous Seikopai tribe. Seeing climate adaptation as a multifaceted issue intertwined with cultural resilience, he has served as the invited graphic artist of indigenous women’s entrepreneurial group Kẹñao. Together they have conducted cultural preservation projects uniting two communities separated in a border dispute between Ecuador and Peru. These workshops focus on native pottery-making techniques and business tactics.

Derek worked as a policy-writer for Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab. Having worked directly with politicians and Sunrise Movement, he sought a new way to communicate environmental topics, relying on empathy and artmaking to drive storytelling. He has further developed this practice with the creation of non-profit Creature Conserve’s Mentorship Program, connecting established artists with burgeoning artists in order to foster informed artmaking on environmental topics. With his interdisciplinary background, he works across mediums, including illustration, writing, architecture, and documentary filmmaking (including collaboration with oscar-nominated directors and the arts non-profit UnionDocs Center for Documentary Arts).