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Journeys of Displacement Between South and North: Decolonizing a Designer Imaginary
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7806-8150
2018 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In a globalized world that promotes universal desires, southern epistemologies struggle to flourish against westernized notions of values, beauty and life goals. This manifestation of Coloniality (Grosfoguel, 2006) is strengthened by the mainstream systems of production and consumption of both goods and knowledge, where design is a driving force. Design, has been taught from generations in academy under the same Eurocentric canons that disseminate the values of capitalism and search for economic growth. Designers, have been worldwide trained to think, value and act according to the standards of aesthetics, progress and development set in the North. However, the current global unsustainability crises make more evident the global power dynamics, and the need to maintain diverse and contextualized forms of seeing and acting with the world.

Our own experience of being trained as designers in the south, and now relocated to the north is making us aware of our life desires imposed by contemporary coloniality. However, this relocation also builds on the advantages of coloniality, for instance, by being in contexts that have a stronger voice in international disciplinary communities. As others in our situation, we don’t want to be colonizers by being the “north in the south”. In this presentation we show journeys of deconstructing design, sustainability and their values and worldviews through transitioning between south and north. These journeys are motivated by the intention of creating mutual learning between south and north. We aim at supporting the transition of our discipline from Eurocentric worldview to more diverse worldviews and systems of values.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mexico City, 2018.
Keywords [en]
design for sustainability, coloniality, globa North, global South, Eurocentric design
National Category
Design
Research subject
sustainability
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-151954OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-151954DiVA, id: diva2:1249539
Conference
First North-South Conference on Degrowth-Descrecimiento, México City, 3–7 September, 2018
Available from: 2018-09-19 Created: 2018-09-19 Last updated: 2023-01-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Moving decolonially in design for sustainabilities: spaces, rhythms, rituals, celebrations, conflicts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Moving decolonially in design for sustainabilities: spaces, rhythms, rituals, celebrations, conflicts
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Rörandes dekolonialt inom design for hållbarhet : utrymmen, rytmer, ritualer, firanden, konflikter
Abstract [en]

As design attempts to tackle environmental and social issues, it has found itself intertwined with and bound to an oppressive global paradigm that has created the problems in the first place. Consequently, the effort of disentangling design from its current paradigm has been gaining attention under the emerging focus of decolonising design (Mareis and Paim, 2020; Tlostanova, 2017) and design for pluriversality (Escobar, 2018; Noel, 2020). These efforts have argued for allowing various ways of defining and doing design to coexist as a way forward. However, if on one side we have design intertwined with oppressive global structures, and on the other side we have the desire to allow the co-existence of pluriverses of designing, we are left with a gap in between. What are possible openings to move from contemporary design to pluriverses of designing? 

This dissertation tackles this question to explore openings to move towards pluriverses of designing. Building on work done by scholars such as Escobar (2018a, 2018b, 2015), Noel (2020) and Vázquez (2017), this design research program seeks to contribute to decolonising design by providing examples and orientation points to move towards pluriversality. To do so, it uses a practice-based design research approach where practice and moving are framed by the Afro-Brazilian decolonial martial art of Capoeira, which focuses on finding openings to escape from colonial oppression. Capoeira allows us to look at how contemporary design moves in order to identify its flaws and use these as openings towards other ways of designing.

This dissertation moves through several levels of abstraction, taking an up-close look at the entanglement of design and oppressive global structures as a starting point and then moving down in scale through the efforts of Design for Sustainability, decolonising design and design for pluriversality. Reaching the level of focus on situated design action, this work presents a collection of six collaborative movements in the form of academic publications. Drawing on these movements, the work outlines possible aspects for fomenting decolonial design stances to move towards pluriversality and traces the possible implications for doing, writing, teaching and understanding design. The concepts of awarenessing, pluriversal directionality and bringing personal stances into defining designing are proposed as orientation points to move towards pluriverses of design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2022. p. 263
Series
Umeå Institute of Design Research Publications ; 11
Keywords
Design, decolonization, sustainability, Capoeira, movement, decolonising design, design for sustainability, pluriverse, pluriversality, industrial design
National Category
Design
Research subject
design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-198656 (URN)978-91-7855-853-7 (ISBN)978-91-7855-854-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-09-21, Project Studio (via Zoom), Östra Strandgatan 30, Umeå, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Various pagination.

Chapter 6 and appendix 2 contain appended papers and are not included in pdf. 

Available from: 2022-08-31 Created: 2022-08-16 Last updated: 2023-12-15Bibliographically approved

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Sanchez de La Barquera, XavieraTorretta, Nicholas B.

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