Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
2.a 1/1: Decolonising Knowledge to Transform Societies
Thursday, 20/Jun/2019:
2:00pm - 3:40pm

Session Chair: Vanissa Wanick
Session Chair: Nusa Fain
Location: LDN.207
2nd floor Loughborough University London 40 capacity

Session Abstract

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).
Science seeks objectivity and is unable to comprehend the categories and codes that subjective experiential knowledge has to offer. Practice-based experiential knowledge is understood through the subjective engagement of a practitioner. The privileged expertise position of science is merited through its transference and objectivity. Yet, interval and again arguments are made for merits of subjective and tacit knowledge that making/doing/problem-solving inherently holds (Sennett, 2009; Lansing, 2006)
The impact of divide between the objectivity and subjectivity is felt because there is no common language to share dissimilar coding of a similar knowledge. Through this track, we seek examples, scenarios and frameworks of innovation driven by tacit knowledge to challenge the hegemony of the current system.
How do innovations gainful respond from tacit knowledge? What worlds of undifferentiated knowledge can exist if we absorb and desorb the objectivity and subjectivity that different domains offer? What are the other systems of understanding and action in the world? What are the experimentations and scales in these knowledge domains? How can they be understood through their own system of language? What are the ways of creating a dialogue between plural ways of knowing? What is the role of local knowledge and culture in creating and transforming innovation? How can one knowledge style learn from the other and enhance its quality? How can one knowledge not colonise another and bring equality to practitioners of experiential knowledge?
It is anticipated that contributions to this track will challenge the hegemony of dominant knowledge systems, open a dialogue for recognition, acceptance and create an exchange between disparate system.

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2:00pm - 2:25pm

Colonizing Innovation: The Case of Jugaad

Abhinav Chaturvedi1, Alf Rehn2

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.

Track 2.a-Colonizing Innovation-261Chaturvedi_a.pdf

2:25pm - 2:50pm

Understanding Development Discourse through Ontological Design: The case of South Korea

Boeun Bethany Hong, Sharon Prendeville

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.

Track 2.a-Understanding Development Discourse through Ontological Design-241Hong_a.pdf

2:50pm - 3:15pm

Decolonising Namibian Arts and Design through Improvisation

Melanie Augusta Sarantou, Caoimhe Isha Beaule, Satu Anneli Miettinen

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.

Track 2.a-Decolonising Namibian Arts and Design through Improvisation-364Sarantou_a.pdf

3:15pm - 3:40pm

Design, power and colonization: decolonial and anti-oppressive explorations on three approaches for Design for Sustainability

Nicholas Baroncelli Torretta1, Lizette Reitsma2

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.

Track 2.a-Design, power and colonization-314Baroncelli Torretta_a.pdf

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