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  • 1.
    Clark, Brendon
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Co-creating language learning journeys: a designerly approach to supporting experiential language learning practices : a resource for teachers and teacher educators2018Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There is often a great difference between what a student learns in a second language class and the competence a student needs to use a second language in the context of everyday life. The ability to speak a language and the ability to participate in everyday activities using a language are tightly linked. For many, the goal of language learning is to be able to participate competently in activities with other people using the target language, whether it is in a simple service interaction such as ordering food at a restaurant, or joining a conversation with colleagues during a break at work, or more involved types of participation such as interacting with the hospital staff during an emergency, or giving a presentation to a room full of colleagues, investors, or a scientific community. These interactive situations are potentially influenced by the physical environment, surrounding physical artefacts, gestures and other bodily actions. Often these situated interactions are influenced by what each of the participants may have been doing before and what they are intending to do afterward, and the practices they have developed in similar situations, and the relationships they have developed with the other participants. 

    These materials introduce a set of concepts, 'toolboxes' and examples for supporting a reflective experiential language learning practice where the learner uses the social interactions in everyday situations as the basis for reflection and future action.

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  • 2.
    Clark, Brendon
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Improvisational Design Dialogue2021In: CHI2021 Online interactive workshop: Decolonizing Design Practices: Towards Pluriversality, 2021Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We take the position that, if we wish 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 that encounter. We emphasize the improvisational nature of turn-taking in “real-time” 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. Improvisational design dialogue – unraveling partial glimpses of our individual and collective journeys in improvised performances of potential realities through a dance of multimodal, partially distributed, partially synchronized dialogue in the “design present”. 

  • 3.
    Clark, Brendon
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Improvisational Design Dialogue: exploring relational design encounters as means to dismantle oppression in design2022In: DRS2022: Bilbao / [ed] Dan Lockton; Sara Lenzi; Paul Hekkert; Arlene Oak; Juan Sádaba; Peter Lloyd, London: Design Research Society, 2022, article id 104Conference 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.

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  • 4.
    Lilja, Niina
    et al.
    Faculty of Information Technology and Communication, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland.
    Piirainen-Marsh, Arja
    Department of Language and Communication Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.
    Clark, Brendon
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    The rally course: learners as co-designers of out-of-classroom language learning tasks2019In: Conversation analytic research on learning-in-action: the complex ecology of second language interaction ‘in the wild’ / [ed] John Hellermann; Søren W. Eskildsen; Simona Pekarek Doehler; Arja Piirainen-Marsh, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., 2019, , p. 30p. 219-248Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter introduces a “Rally Course” as a novel CA-inspired approach to teaching a second language. This approach builds on an understanding of language learning as a social process that is closely intertwined with L2 speakers’ evolving membership in the surrounding community. It addresses the need to develop experiential pedagogies that widen learners’ opportunities for interaction and support the socialisation process. Building on recent pedagogical initiatives supporting language learning in the wild, we illustrate the overall structure of the Rally Course, describe the main materials that were designed to support the learning objectives and present a case analysis of a student carrying out a pedagogical activity supported by the materials.

  • 5. Reitsma, Lizzete
    et al.
    Torretta, Nicholas
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    de Jong, Annelise
    Önnevall, Elin
    Wessman, Stina
    Humble Designing: A Future Perspective on the Role of Design in Design for Sustainability2017In: Proceedings of the 18th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production: Towards a Greener Challenge & Evolution in the Framework of the Circular Economy / [ed] Konstantinos Aravossis, 2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Design has the potential for addressing societal challenges including sustainability by highlighting certain societal issues or even changing existing structures of consumption. One of the primary concerns of design for sustainability (DfS) has been to bring about behavior change towards supporting more sustainable lifestyles. There are a number of potential problems however with this intention of DfS. Behavior change is highly normative, and potentially problematic to address, since there is no obvious agency of designing for norm setting in sustainability. As a reaction towards these concerns, we have been exploring an alternative perspective on DfS by challenging existing power structures and norm setting occurring among the various roles and relations between actors in design processes. We frame this perspective as humble designing to indicate an important yet modest role for design. In order to take this exploration further, we held two workshops with design practitioners and researchers working with DfS in the fields of interaction design, engineering, social sciences and anthropology. In this paper we reflect upon these two workshops in order to understand whether humble designing as an alternative perspective on DfS has potential to contribute in steering away from normative goal-setting so to diversify design for sustainability. The results indicated that there is a need for setting appropriate moments for applying humbleness in a design approach, but also that there is potential for moderating power structures within design processes in order to address normative intentions.

  • 6.
    Sanchez de La Barquera, Xaviera
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Journeys of Displacement Between South and North: Decolonizing a Designer Imaginary2018Conference 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.

  • 7.
    Torretta, Nicholas
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Learning To Collaborate In And For Design For Sustainability2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Moving decolonially in design for sustainabilities: spaces, rhythms, rituals, celebrations, conflicts2022Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    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.

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  • 9.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    New Behaviours of Design for Sustainability2017Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 10.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Take it personally: what may it take to become designers for pluriversality?: [Tómatelo personal: ¿Qué se necesita para convertir-se en Diseñadoras(es) para la pluriversalidad?]2023In: Kepes, ISSN 1794-7111, Vol. 20, no 27, p. 19-46Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper argues that if we aim to Design for pluriversality, we cannot do so from a universalist notion of what it means to be a Designer. This paper briefly describes the efforts of decolonizing Design, then looks into two Design approaches in socially engaged Design methods that frame how Designers connect to place and people: Situated Design and Design Empathy. These discourses are then further nuanced by adding a decolonial lens, nuancing how Designers are situated and engage through the colonial matrix of power. This then serves as a map of aspects to be taken into consideration for nuancing a Designer’s relation place, history, profession and people in the colonial matrix of power. This paper then suggest the notions of awarenessing, an action-oriented reflective awareness on one’s position, flexibility in Design processes and the incorporation of personal aspects into Designing as possible ways to open up for pluriversal Design stances. The paper concludes by outlining potential implications of opening up for such stances in doing, writing and teaching Design.

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  • 11.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Clark, Brendon
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Redström, Johan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Reorienting design towards a decolonial ethos: exploring directions for decolonial designManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Reitsma, Lizette
    RISE Interactive.
    Design, power and colonisation: decolonial and antioppressive explorations on three approaches for Design for Sustainability2019In: Academy for Design Innovation Management 2019 (ADIM2019), Loughborough University London, 18th - 21st June, 2019, London, 2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Our contemporary world is organized in a modern/colonial structure. As people,professions and practices engage in cross-country Design for Sustainability (DfS), projectshave the potential of sustaining or changing modern/colonial power structures. In suchproject relations, good intentions in working for sustainability do not directly result inliberation from modern/colonial power structures. In this paper we introduce threeapproaches in DfS that deal with power relations. Using a Freirean (1970) decolonialperspective, we analyse these approaches to see how they can inform DfS towards beingdecolonial and anti-oppressive. We conclude that steering DfS to become decolonial orcolonizing is a relational issue based on the interplay between the designers’ position inthe modern/colonial structure, the design approach chosen, the place and the peopleinvolved in DfS. Hence, a continuous critical reflexive practice is needed in order to preventDfS from becoming yet another colonial tool.

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  • 13.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Reitsma, Lizette
    Malmö University .
    Clark, Brendon
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Hillgren, Per-Anders
    Malmö University .
    Jönsson, Li
    Malmö University .
    Stories for Collaborative Survival2021In: Matters of Scale: NORDES 2021. Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Design Research Conference / [ed] Eva Brandt; Thomas Markussen; Eeva Berglund; Per Linde, Kolding: Design School Kolding; University of Southern Denmark , 2021, Vol. 9, p. 495-498Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    What if this abstract was actually the middle of the story? And instead of it being a summary of what we try to do in this workshop, by individual ‘heroes’ that summarize the whole text, this section would be a collective account of why the text is worth reading and sharing. What if this section was not the beginning of a linear story, but a passage in a circular (re)telling of a shared experience? What if experimenting with such non-linear stories might change the way we tell stories in and through design? In this workshop we invite the design research community to explore how to situate sustainability through storytelling. In this workshop we explore how to bring forward individual neglected stories, dislodging heroic and universalist narratives, to explore how we can collectively listen, share, co-create and tell stories that can contribute to survival across individual and social scales.

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  • 14.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Reitsma, Lizette
    Department of Art, Culture, and Communication, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
    Hillgren, Per-Anders
    Department of Art, Culture, and Communication, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
    Nair van Ryneveld, Tara
    Lund Center for Sustainability Studies, Lund University, Lund, Swede.
    Hansen, Anne-Marie
    Department of Art, Culture, and Communication, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
    Castillo Muñoz, Yénika
    Pluriversal spaces for decolonizing design: exploring decolonial directions for participatory design2023In: Diseña, ISSN 0718-8447, Vol. 22, no 2, article id 8Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Decolonization is a situated effort as it relates to the relations of privilege, power, politics, and access (3P-A, in Albarrán González’s terms) between the people involved in design in relation to wider societies. This complexity creates certain challenges for how we can understand, learn about, and nurture decolonization in design towards pluriversality, since such decolonizing effort is based on the relationship between specific individuals and the collective. In this paper, we present and discuss the ‘River project’, a participatory space for decolonizing design, created for designers and practitioners to reflect on their own 3P-A as a way to create awareness of their own oppressive potential in design work. These joint reflections challenged ideas of participation and shaped learning processes between the participants, bringing to the foreground the importance of seeing and allowing for a plurality of life and work worlds to be brought together. We build on the learnings from this project to propose the notions of pluriversal participation, pluriversal presence, and pluriversal directionality, which can help nurture decolonizing designs towards pluriversality. We conclude by arguing that, for nurturing pluriversality through Participatory Design, participation, presence, and direction must be equally pluriversal.

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  • 15.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Sanchez de La Barquera, Xaviera
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Who gets to situate design? Reflections from engaging with diversity in design2018In: EASST2018:: Meetings: Making Science, Technology and Society together, 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The current unsustainability crises have called on design to pay greater attention to the social, political, cultural and environmental dynamics of designing. These include the processes, relations, consequences, and response-abilities of design. As design practices continue to move out of the studio and engage with 'the social', the character of these design practices and their relation to the contexts in which they operate come into focus. The basic orientation of design—to approach with an intention to bring about change—can strongly activate and reveal the colonial ethos of design in these contexts, and raise questions of how to navigate different and even incommensurable value systems and types of knowledge. These issues are brought into sharp relief in our current project of working with Sami people in a project that is part of an advanced professional industrial design education. The project is motivated by an ambition to challenge ourselves and our students to open up to change through engaging with diversity. These engagements have required those involved to rethink their worldviews, values and understanding of knowledge. Situating design in this context, we must also ask: at what point does situating become imposing? Who gets to situate? Who are we to suggest something to this community as outsiders? Who gets to decide value? What does design have to offer? And, more hopefully: how might we shift from imposing our methods and values to a more transformational process of learning to design (and live) together, negotiating and sharing through an interweaving of partial perspectives?

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