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Improvisational Design Dialogue: exploring relational design encounters as means to dismantle oppression in design
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
2022 (English)In: DRS2022: Bilbao / [ed] Dan Lockton; Sara Lenzi; Paul Hekkert; Arlene Oak; Juan Sádaba; Peter Lloyd, London: Design Research Society, 2022, article id 104Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

To explore dismantling oppressive power relations in design, we bring to fore design encounters through the lens of relationality and improvisational competence. This paper is based on the premise that, if we are to move toward decolonizing design, design(ers) needs to re-think the organization of the design encounter and how we as designers practice participation in such encounters. We emphasize the improvisational nature of turn-taking in dialogue amidst asymmetric and dynamic power relations, with design’s commitment to generating resources for future practices, and decolonization’s commitment to re-configure power structures. After problematizing the design encounter from a power relation perspective, we explore practice models for developing improvisational competence. We do this by looking at the two improvisational dialogic practices of Capoeira and Improv Theater. We focus on what it can mean to develop skills in “improvisational competence” of relationality in design. We first touch on our previous Participatory Design work in the language learning “in the wild” agenda and then draw on each of our personal improvisational practices: Capoeira martial art, and improvisational theater. We then outline possibilities for relational improvisational design dialogue and conclude by outlining how it can be practiced in Design education and practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Design Research Society, 2022. article id 104
Series
PROCEEDINGS OF DRS, ISSN 2398-3132
Keywords [en]
power relation, improvisation, relationality, decolonization
National Category
Design
Research subject
design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-198677DOI: 10.21606/drs.2022.386ISBN: 978-1-91229-457-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-198677DiVA, id: diva2:1688011
Conference
Design Research Society Conference 2022, Bilbao, Spain, June 25 – July 1, 2022.
Note

Joint authorship with names in alphabetical order.

Available from: 2022-08-17 Created: 2022-08-17 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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Clark, BrendonTorretta, Nicholas B.

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