Cas Holman, designer and founder of Heroes Will Rise, and Cynthia Trope, Associate Curator of Product Design and Decorative Arts, discuss Holman’s work, education, creativity, and childhood.


Cas Holman has spent the last fifteen years immersed in play, education, and imagination. Through her company Heroes Will Rise, she designs and manufactures tools for the imagination. These materials are manipulable parts and pieces which inspire constructive play, imaginative forms, and cooperative interactions between people. Abstract in their identity, these tools/toys inspire children and adults to imagine the origin and story of the toy as well as how to use it. “What is it?” and “What does it do?” are answered in intuitive details, play prompts, and semiotic clues, making the instructions implicit in the tool/toy. She is an Associate Professor of Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and prototypes her playthings on five acres known as Camp Fun. Holman travels the globe to collaborate with thought and industry leaders in early education, curriculum design, public space, and childhood advocacy. Her inspiring brave collaborators and clients include Cheng Xueqin, founder of Anji Play (Anji, China), Friends of the High Line (New York, USA), the 14th St Y Preschool and Jewish Community Center (New York, USA), and Lego Education (Denmark).