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  5. Spark Summit 2022

December 9th, 2022
9:30AM – 2:30PM

Location: CIC District Hall
Matunuck Room
225 Dyer St, Providence, RI 02903
Fee: Free
Provided: Breakfast and a Networking Lunch

Emerging Creatives*:

9:30AM – 2:30PM

Industry Leaders:

12PM – 2:30PM

Emerging Creatives Only
* As part of your registration, you are required to fill out the following form from the RI Department of Labor and Training. This form takes about 5 minutes to complete and requires you to upload picture of a photo ID. Please complete this form before attending the Spark Summit.

Discover Talent | Connect Opportunities | Be Inspired

The SPARK DESIGN summit is an engagement platform connecting the design ecosystem. We’ll explore and activate the design and innovation workforce in RI. Join us, and get to know the existing and future design talent in RI. 

– Gain insight into employer and employee needs, challenges and opportunities    

– Collaborate with participants from across the design ecosystem 

– Experience new ways of thinking and define new frontiers for design in RI 

Who should attend: 

Industry leaders: Design leaders, employers, community members as well as high education design professors and department heads.

Emerging Creatives: Emerging designers, students, future design professionals, entrepreneurs and collaboration partners.

State leaders and partners looking to learn and connect with the design talent in Rhode Island.

What to expect: 

SPARK DESIGN will offer a mix of interactive, educational and social experiences, all designed to maximize engagement potential between participants. You can expect lively community discussions, participatory inquiry, networking opportunities and workshops.

SPARK DESIGN was born out of a mission to bridge the gaps between design leaders and next generation designers, teachers, innovators, and students – to connect real world inspiration with the future of design. Globally, design is a force driving the future in technology, experience and commerce. Locally, the design sector is a powerful and dynamic field – leading in innovation, solutions and global connection. 

Rhode Island’s design ecosystem: 

11 Colleges and Universities 

1100+ graduates of design each year 

2,000+ design employers 

3rd most creative sector jobs in the U.S. 

1 state founded on innovation and maverick leadership 


Sara Ossana

Sara Ossana (she/they) is a world-builder, artist, designer, scholar and educator. They are originally from Arizona and are a founding partner and former co-owner of O&G Studio. They consider themselves an ‘undisciplined’ creative, working between and within various modalities including, but not limited to: film, theatre, product design, furniture, narrative environments, manufacturing and various art practices. Sara is currently faculty at RISD in Furniture and Interior Architecture and was full-time faculty at Brown in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Sara is committed to the Rhode Island Design landscape, and is currently also the Board Vice President at DESIGNxRI.

Aarin B. Clemons, Workforce Manager

Aarin Clemons joined Polaris MEP in 2021 as Workforce Coordinator and was quickly promoted to Manager as he took on leading roles in key initiatives such as the Fast Track to Manufacturing program. Before joining their team he most recently served as General Manager and Brand + Culture Director for The Dean Hotel. Recognized by the Rhode Island Hospitality & Tourism Association in 2017 as the Emerging Leader of the Year, he brings operational skills proven in both in-house and public-facing initiatives. The United Way named him a “Champion of Adult Learning” in 2019 in honor of the adult learning programming he created for The Dean Hotel. Aarin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University.

Nick Scappatici

As the founder of BIG DREAMS, Nick drives corporations, governments and brands through high-level operational and strategic change. He leads a staff of strategists, designers and technologists that explore the complex challenges of our time by crafting imaginative narratives to accelerate a more equitable and sustainable future. Prior to BIG DREAMS, Nick was founder of Tellart, an award winning globally recognized experiential design firm. Nick serves as President of the DesignxRI Board and regularly speaks and teaches about Design Methods for Innovation, Experience Design, Understanding Futures, to name a few.

Ashley Belanger

Ashley is a bona fide nonprofit nerd. She love love loves research and theory. And loves even more when we can use it to make a more just and caring world. She delights in helping clients apply stuff from the domains of social psychology, behavioral science, critical theory, marketing, design, and education to create better systems that achieve greater impact. Having spent ten years building a nonprofit from the ground up, Ashley’s personal mission is to be the person she wishes she’d had in the trenches.

She is a Certified Quadrant 3 Leadership Coach, holds a Certificate in Philanthropic Psychology from the Institute of Sustainable Philanthropy (with distinction), and serves as a Council Member for Rogare, the independent fundraising think tank for the global fundraising profession. She reads a lot I read a lot. She thinks even more… Oh, did we mention she’s a nerd?

SPARK DESIGN Summit Schedule

9:30AM – 10AM

Welcome Coffee and Breakfast and remarks from DxRI ED Ellie Brown.

10AM – 10:45AM

Workshop: Unearthing Your Values for Empowerment

Led by Sara Ossana

11AM – 11:45AM

“And I’ll form the _______”
Modern tactics for effective teams

Led by Aarin B. Clemons

11:45AM – 12:30PM

Networking Lunch Activity

Led by Nick Scapatici

12:30PM – 1:30PM

Round Table Discussion: Connection in the Dots: Building the Pipeline with Care

Facilitated by Ashley Belanger

1:30PM – 2:30PM

Groups rejoin for a community discussion.