Session at AAANZ Conference 2019: Ngā Tūtaki – Encounter/s: Agency, Embodiment, Exchange, Ecologies

This session invites papers that explore the imaginaries of the decolonisation of design history through case-studies, practitioner accounts, and emergent models that contextualise the agencies engaged in historicising design. Histories of design can frame design cultures and discourses as the product of advanced industrialised economies, capitalist modernity, star practitioners, company biographies, and present designers as the sole custodians of the design profession. This historiographical tendency equates design with the colonial endeavour and denies the co-existence of diverse approaches. Drawing from both art history and cultural studies, design history on the one hand reasserts disciplinary boundaries to define the specificities of the field and validate the profession – a defensive disciplinarity that mirrors the current moment of hyper-nationalism. On the other hand, histories that open up the social and political imaginaries of design by offering alternatives to the status quo of the Eurocentric canon complicate such disciplinary boundaries. Possible topics include:

  • Histories of design in the Postcolonial / Global South
  • Decolonisation of curriculum, bibliographies, and teaching methods  
  • Dori Tunstall’s proposal for Respectful Design
  • Case-studies of indigenous design and interpretive frameworks
  • Accounts of the challenges of redressing injustice as defined by Tuck and Yang (2012) when decolonising design practices
  • Emergent models that contextualise the agencies engaged in the production of alternative design histories.