Rachele Riley (MFA ’05)

Assistant Professor, Graphic Design
School of Art + Design
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate Thesis project at VCU—Aesthetic Representations of Violence: Visualizing the Art of War

Rachele Riley is an artist, designer, researcher, and educator—and is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her multimedia work investigates the representation of conflict and space, and its reconciliation within culture, and has received support through grants from the DigitalGlobe Foundation, USA Projects Open Match Fund, the University of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Rachele’s print, drawing, video, writing, and Web-based works have been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad, and published in Leonardo/Journal of Arts, Sciences, and Technology (2014), Print Magazine/Regional Design Annual (2008) and Motion Design (Matt Woolman, 2004). She serves on the Board of Directors for DesignInquiry—a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in team-based gatherings. She has been Artist-in-Residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and recently, as part of DesignInquiry, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Rachele presents her research regularly at conferences in the U.S. and abroad: notably in September 2013, at ‘Praxis and Poetics’ at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England and, most recently in August 2014, at SIGGRAPH 2014’s Art Gallery, ‘Acting in Translation.’ Her creative research project, ‘The Evolution of Silence,’ was selected as an Official Honoree in The 18th Annual Webby Awards in the NetArt category in April 2014. Rachele holds a BS in Studio Art from New York University, a Vordiplom in Communication Design from the Burg Giebichenstein School of Art and Design in Halle, Germany, and a MFA in Design/Visual Communication from Virginia Commonwealth University.



An exploratory, non-linear map and interpretation of the impact of nuclear testing at Yucca Flat, Nevada Test Site. See more.

Additional screen shot of The Evolution of Silence project.

Installation view of The Evolution of Silence at SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference and Art Gallery Exhibition, ‘Acting in Translation,’ August 2014.

DIFFERENT DATA, October-December, 2014
collaboration with Joshua Singer, Dan McCafferty, and Patricio Davila

Wall-based mapping/visualization project installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) as part of DesignInquiry’s DEPE Space Residency. See more.

DesignInquiry DesignCity Detroit (DIDCD), February 20–23, 2014 Expedition Video, March 2014. See more.

Rachele Riley on the web

What mattered about the MFA in Design, Visual Communications?
The MFA program is shaped by the evolving research questions of the faculty, which I found very inspiring—it presented a great example of research and teaching uniting, and the questions were framed very openly and in ways that allowed students to develop their own ideas, research, and creative outcomes through workshops and seminars. This was incredibly valuable to me. I often draw on the studio experiences, conversations, philosophies, and even failures from graduate school at VCU. I love the work that I made in graduate school and at times really miss those days. The work I am pursuing now is a continuation of the experiments I made and builds upon all my experiences at VCU—especially in developing an individual creative approach to design research and practice and to exploring the broad potential for design to make a contribution to the world.