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2.a 1/1: Decolonising Knowledge to Transform Societies
Around the world, colonisation has led to intractable damage in various fields, especially in the domain of local knowledge. We have museumised native practice-based experiential knowledge of doing/making things/problem solving and accepted scientific knowledge as a logical path of doing things. This has created a divide and differentiation in knowledge domains, often questioning the role and relevance of people and their vernacular occupations. Hegemony of one knowledge system over another has been the subject of debate in many disciplines (Escobar 2018; Marglin, 1990).
2:00pm - 2:25pm
Colonizing Innovation: The Case of Jugaad
1Bennett University, India; 2University of South Denmark
Innovation is one of the most popular concepts and desired phenomena of contemporary Western capitalism. As such, there is a perennial drive to capture said phenomena, and particularly to find new ways to incite and drive the same. In this text, we analyze one specific tactic through which this is done, namely by the culturally colonial appropriation of indigenous knowledge systems. By looking to how jugaad, a system of frugal innovation in India, has been made into fodder for Western management literature, we argue for the need of a more developed innovation critique, e.g., by looking to postcolonial theory.
2:25pm - 2:50pm
Understanding Development Discourse through Ontological Design: The case of South Korea
Loughborough University London, United Kingdom
Discourse is a powerful way of understanding/forming the world. It consolidates/disassembles society by conforming/disarticulating. However, the work of discourses has not been explained sufficiently in terms of design theory. In this respect, this paper aims to explore how the work of discourses can be understood in relation to the concept of ontological design, especially from the perspective of coloniality. The case of South Korea’s development experience around different types of development assistance strategies was used to interrogate this question. A hermeneutic approach and discourse analysis were adopted for the empirical analysis. The research found the designed development assistance strategies of the “West” design back the development thinking and new development assistance strategies in South Korea. In doing so, the country replicates the “West-centred” discourse of developmentalism. From this, we conclude that discourses are shared through the ontological practices of designing. This informs design studies of how discourse relates to design.
2:50pm - 3:15pm
Decolonising Namibian Arts and Design through Improvisation
University of Lapland, Australia
The research investigates the role of service design and improvisation as decolonising practice. It is based on case study research with a focus group consisting of Namibian artists, designers, artisans and arts organisations who participated in artistic and cultural exchange activities of the Art South-South Trust (ASST), a start-up Namibian not for profit (NFP) organisation. The goal of ASST was to increase visibility of the focus group members, enable global exposure and create an arena for multi-vocality. The paper creates a practical framework for decolonising practices in Namibian arts and design by drawing on reflective practice to analyse the activities of ASST alongside interview data collected from Namibian and Australian partner organisations and participants in the program. Critical thinking is used to evaluate the impact of realised activities and processes both in situ in Namibia and in exchange in Australia. This paper explores practices that can enable decolonising processes in Namibian arts and design spheres.
3:15pm - 3:40pm
Design, power and colonization: decolonial and anti-oppressive explorations on three approaches for Design for Sustainability
1Umeå University, Sweden; 2Rise Interactive, Sweden
Our contemporary world is organized in a modern/colonial structure. As people, professions and practices engage in cross-country Design for Sustainability (DfS), projects have the potential of sustaining or changing modern/colonial power structures. In such project relations, good intentions in working for sustainability do not directly result in liberation from modern/colonial power structures. In this paper we introduce three approaches in DfS that deal with power relations. Using a Freirean (1970) decolonial perspective, we analyse these approaches to see how they can inform DfS towards being decolonial and anti-oppressive. We conclude that steering DfS to become decolonial or colonizing is a relational issue based on the interplay between the designers’ position in the modern/colonial structure, the design approach chosen, the place and the people involved in DfS. Hence, a continuous critical reflexive practice is needed in order to prevent DfS from becoming yet another colonial tool.
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