About the Network

Across Australasia, design courses within the tertiary education sector continue to remain entrenched in euro-centric narratives and pedagogical approaches, which in turn omit place-specific contexts, cultural histories, knowledges, and diverse ways of designing. In response, we are a collective of design educators working across the Asia-Pacific region, who have come together to de-link from the dominance of Western design education, to unpack the intersections between pluriversality, decoloniality and intersectionality within our own teaching practices.

From our own efforts, we understand radical change within institutions is difficult. We created this network to share resources and support educators wanting to break through the repetitive cycle of western-centric design curriculum to incorporate local and pluriversal design knowledges. Facilitating an exchange between different institutes, practices, and teaching experiences collectively enables conversation around how we might radically reconfigure design education specific to our localities and positionalities.

By creating this space for educators to uncover, connect, and develop confidence in their own practices and identities, it is hoped our conversation will provide value to design tertiary education by contributing to a future with more equitable documented narratives of design history than we’ve had in the past.

Education is central to societal impact and radical change; however, this activity is not always valued as such. We as educators are in the classroom day in day out discussing what is design, for whom we design and why we design with the next generation of designers. It is in the classroom that ideas of positionality and the acknowledgment of one’s power, politics, privilege, and access, can be developed and elaborated upon.

This is why we are excited to join and build conversations and networks through InterDesigning, precisely because this work of acknowledging and elaborating on intersectionality, pluriversality and decoloniality can and should happen in the classroom, led by educators who are actively researching and exchanging in this area. 

Importantly, this network comprises academics, sessional teachers and practitioners who are all at different stages in our professional development and experience with education. This diversity allows for the sharing of different approaches, it makes this network more robust and its potential for outreach stronger.

The InterDesigning network aknowledges and thanks The Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools (ACUADS) for supporting the development of this network and website.

Our Team

Dr Nicola St John

Dr Nicola St John is a design researcher from RMIT University, Australia. Her research is largely collaborative and community based; partnering with First Nations creatives, community schools, and design organisations in participatory research projects to foster social wellbeing, knowledge transfer, and design entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of Solid Lines, Australia's first First Nations led illustration agency. Nicola has received accolades from the Good Design Awards as well as the prestigious RMIT Vice Chancellor’s award for research impact. Her teaching practice encourages the incorporation of intersectional, pluriversal, and co-design methodologies within communication design practice and her contributions to student learning have been awarded through national and international teaching awards.

Positionality Statement coming soon
Dr Livia Rezende

Dr Livia Rezende is a design historian living on Gadigal land and working as a Senior Lecturer and Postgraduate Coordinator at the School of Art & Design, UNSW, Sydney. Her current research project investigates the expansion of the industrial design activity in Latin America under the aegis of military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s as a neo-colonial endeavour. Dr Rezende’s previous projects and publications discuss nation-building efforts through designed pavilions, visual communication, exhibits and displays in 19th-century International Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, with emphasis on the commodification of raw materials and the gendering of nature. As one of the co-founders of the international research collective OPEN, Dr Rezende works on decolonial methods and praxis through public engagement, educational impact, and scholarly outputs.

Positionality Statement coming soon
Dr Diana Albarrán González

Dr Diana Albarrán González is a Native Latin American design researcher and craftivist from Mexico. She is a Lecturer in the Design programmes at Te Waka Tūhura | Elam School of Fine Arts & Design at Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. In collaboration with Mayan weavers, her PhD research proposes Buen Vivir-Centric Design principles towards a fair-dignified life, based on collective well-being, textiles, crafts-design-arts, embodiment and creativity. With more than 18 years of international experience, she seeks to address challenges in a variety of contexts through a meaningful sense of culture, diversity awareness and sensitivity, and the exploration of connections between Oceania and Latin America.

Positionality Statement coming soon

Dr Fanny Suhendra

Dr Fanny Suhendra is a design researcher and educator in Indonesia and Australia. Her primary research focuses on the relationship between graphic design and its role as a behavioural change agent in social and political campaigns. As a Chinese-Indonesian designer educated in the West, she notices that hegemonic Western view remained the primary source for design education and practice, which present the current issue for lack of communication design identity and ownership in non-Western communities. The effort to break the exclusivity and niche perspective around communication design informed her teaching, research and practice, ensuring that empathetic practice and user/student-centred approach is used to develop methodology and pedagogy. Fanny graduated from Swinburne University of Technology in 2021, her thesis focusing on communication design’s role through comparative case studies on Indonesian political and social marketing campaigns and is currently working in Swinburne University of Technology as a communication design lecturer and researcher.

Positionality Statement coming soon
Zenobia Ahmed

Zenobia Ahmed (she/her) is an Indian-born independent graphic designer. She completed a Master of Communication of Design at RMIT in 2017. Her practice spans research, writing and publication design – centred in a space of communal learning, facilitating and care. Working collaboratively within arts, culture and education spaces, Zenobia has designed identities, publications, websites, exhibitions and interventions.  She occasionally contributes text/essays to design publications. Her research focuses on counter narratives in design histories, learning about underrepresented/ marginalised groups and feminist ideas in design.

Positionality Statement coming soon

InterDesigning pays our respect to Elders, Ancestors and Traditional Custodians of the lands where this network was conceived; Wurundjeri, Woi Wurrung, Boon Wurrung language groups of the Kulin Nations, Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples of the Eora nation, and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki iwi (tribes). We also pay respects to our own ancestors and acknowledge how they have shaped the stories and knowledges we share here.