Co-creating the Praxis of Teaching Decolonial, Intersectional and Pluriversal Design and Histories: an InterDesigning Symposium

28–29 November 2023

You are warmly invited to join the InterDesigning network’s symposium that will bring together design scholars, educators, and practitioners across Oceania to explore and co-create more diverse ways of teaching and designing within tertiary institutions.

The symposium aims to establish an ongoing network of design educators and postgraduate students at all career stages, where mutual, inclusive, and caring support is fundamental. Guest speakers and participants will be invited to collaboratively produce practical recommendations, ranging from curriculum development and classroom teaching strategies, that can be used in advancing the praxis of teaching and learning decolonial, intersectional, and pluriversal design and histories, where First Nations voices are prioritised.

About the Symposium

The InterDesigning symposium brings together design scholars, educators, and practitioners across Oceania to facilitate an exchange between different institutes, practices, and experiences to encourage greater engagement with pluriversal and intersectional approaches to teaching and learning.

In doing so, this symposium seeks to deconstruct and contest design education as a western-dominated field of representation. Across Australiasia, design courses remain entrenched within euro-centric narratives, while omitting place-specific contexts, cultural knowledge, and diverse ways of designing. Subsequently, the respectful inclusion of cultural and intersectional identities has often been overlooked. This symposium hopes to reposition the necessity and complexity of pluriversal and decolonial approaches to design education.

The symposium seeks to support and champion those creating more inclusive design courses and curriculum across the Oceania region. To offer spaces to share our experiences within our own institutions, discuss struggles to continually learn and develop.

Unlike conventional symposia where participants provide 15/20-minute papers while others listen, the InterDesigning symposium is a co-participatory event where invited speakers and participants engage in conversations and making workshops to share experiences and reflections.

We would like to acknowledge ACUADS in supporting the creation of this network, and to the Design History Society, RMIT University, University of Auckland, and UNSW Sydney for their support for this symposium.


This is an in-person event and many sessions will be audio and video recorded. Sessions will feature panel presentations and interactive workshops.

Day 1 will focus on sharing experiences of teaching design in decolonial, pluriversal and intersectional ways, focusing on connections to place, self, and communities. A range of short presentations and workshops from teachers, sessional/casualised tutors, and students will address core questions and concerns for design education.

Day 2 will focus on reflecting on the key themes that have emerged through panel discussions and explore ways we can respond through making, connecting, writing, and sharing. This will largely be in the form of open sessions where we can gather and make space to think and respond through a variety of creative mediums.

How to Register

This event is free of charge. Registration is essential for building safety requirements and catering purposes. Through a eventbrite page, you will be able to book tickets/register for:

  • Symposium day 1: November 28
  • Symposium day 2: November 29

This event will be catered, which means if you register, please do come! We don't want to waste food.



RMIT University, City Campus

November 28: The Oxford Scholar, Level 1 function space, 427 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

November 29: RMIT Garden Building, Level 5, Building 10, RMIT University 376-392 Swanston Street, Melbourne Entry access from Bowen Street (between Swanston and Russell streets)


The full symposium program and speakers will be shared here shortly. An overview of the agenda is included below.

Day 1: Tuesday 28 Nov 2023

9.00–9.30        Delegate registration, RMIT University, Melbourne

9.30–10.00      Welcome to Country from Traditional Owners
                        Opening statement from the InterDesigning network

10.00–12.30     Circle One: Connecting to Place

Following First Nation peoples’ conversational praxes for ideas exchange (e.g., yarning, korero, talanoa or círculo de la palabra) the first circle seeks to deepen our understanding on the impacts, challenges, and responsibilities of integrating First Nations knowledges respectfully and ethically in histories of design and design education. The main circle, comprised of First Nation speakers, will lead the discussion, and seek to challenge understandings of design as an industry-driven knowledge. The circle will explore the possibility of a design “being of/with the land” and connecting design to lands’ First Nations occupiers. Symposium participants will sit in the outer circle and be invited to share insights.

12:30–13:30       Lunch break

13:30–15:30       Circle Two: Connecting as a Teaching Community

This circle, led by design educators at varying points in their careers, explores how we might enact an intersectional and diverse praxis within our teaching. Facilitators and panellists will discuss their experiences and struggles in developing and implementing innovative teaching materials, including the complexities experienced by sessional/casualised staff, who are often tasked with delivering content created from academics in other positions. Symposium participants will be invited to contribute with further discussion and reflection to inform how the InterDesigning network can support a teaching community, offer space to continuously discuss and share approaches in co-creating more inclusive design and design history courses.

15:30–16:00       Coffee Break
16:00–17:00       Closing Remarks

Day 2: Wednesday 29 Nov 2023

This second day brings participants who wish to co-create and workshop actionable points based on the first-day discussions.

9:00–9:30          Delegate registration, RMIT University, Melbourne
9:30–12:00        Reflective Workshop

This reflective workshop will invite conversations around pluriversal approaches to teaching, learning, and designing. In this session, led by PhD candidates, participants will engage in activities that promote reflection, creativity, listening, and discussions about intersectional identities as well as the making of a collective space for the design education community. Insights and outcomes will be shared on the InterDesigning online platform.

12:30–13:30       Lunch break
13:30–15:30       Network Discussion

We will take this time to reflect and discuss the symposium. Participants of the symposiums are welcome to join this session. Prompts will be provided and participants are welcome to reflect verbally, in writing or in other creative forms.

15:30–16:00      Closing remarks 



Cecelia Faumuina: Cecelia's current practice positions faiva – (the Tongan idea of creative skill especially in performance) and fai vā (the Samoan idea of nurturing relational spaces) as a way for young people in particular to create and express themselves for better wellbeing. Cecelia has worked across audio visual design production, and secondary school teaching, facilitating art, design and technology lessons while being of service to others in the community. Cecelia is conscious of the many challenges we face in today’s world and is constantly looking for better ways to inform, empower, uplift and prepare people for complex situations using creativity.

Ayla Hoeta: Ayla was born and raised in South Auckland, Waikato Tainui and mana whenua to the region. She is currently a Maramataka practitioner and Lecturer in Design at the University of Auckland. Her mahi is to support rangatahi / students to explore indigeneity in design thinking and practises through maatauranga Maaori and Maramataka. Ayla has been attuning orangatanga to maramataka ki Tamaki through practises of kai tirotiro, connection to taiao, design, fitness, mahi maara and continuously learning how maramataka weaves into ako, teaching, parenting and whanau led innovation.

Emrhan Tjapanangka Sultan: Emrhan is the co-founder of Solid Lines, a First Nations-led illustration agency. He has previously worked as a First Nations engagement advisor for a variety of organisations, including Orygen, Relationships Australia, The Salvation Army, Oxfam Australia, and CAAMA. He is also a dynamic artist. Emrhan belongs to the Luritja and Western Arrernte Nations in Central Australia as well as Kokatha Nation in South Australia.

Jesse Wright: JESWRI (pronounced Jess-Rye) is a multifaceted Gadigal artist of the Eora Nation. Born and raised in Sydney, he now lives in Naarm. He is known for his large-scale street art and exciting brand collaborations with Converse, Adidas, and VividSydney. Through his work, JESWRI opens a dialogue about mental health and aims to have meaningful conversations about taboo topics through his many creative practices.


Nicole Crouch: Nicole is a textile print designer in the commercial fashion industry, a casual academic teaching into textile design at UNSW, the creative industries and academic research lead at the Cultural Intellectual Property Rights Initiative® (CIPRI) and a PhD candidate creating Cultural Ethical Design Frameworks for commercial textile print designers.

Bridie Moran: Bridie works as a curator, editor, sessional academic and cultural development and policy consultant. Bride is currently Co-Editor of The Journal of Australian Ceramics; tutors and convenes at UNSW across exhibition design and design history and theory; and is undertaking a PhD analysing the history of policy for craft in Australia between 1971-2011. Bridie lives and works between unceded Awabakal lands (Newcastle, NSW) and Gadigal and Bedegal lands (Sydney, NSW).

Fanny Suhendra: Fanny is a design researcher and educator from Swinburne University. As a Chinese-Indonesian designer educated in the West, she notices that hegemonic Western worldviews remain the primary source for design education and practice, which creates a lack of communication design identity and ownership in non-Western communities. This informes her teaching, research and practice, ensuring that empathetic practice and user/student-centred approaches are used to develop methodology and pedagogy.

Shivani Tyagi: Shivani is a lecturer and researcher at Swinburne's School of Design and Architecture. Her research is interested in how design, particularly visual communication can influence people’s perceptions, behaviour, and experiences. She has collaborated on a range of funded industry research projects, particularly in health communications and road safety.

Peter West: Peter is a senior lecturer in RMIT's School of Design. Peter's research and teaching practice explores the ways in which Western design is practiced lawfully, in response to Indigenous sovereignty. Peter West is a non-Indigenous cis-gendered white man and a visitor on unceded Indigenous lands. West research and its application is focused on supporting non-Indigenous designers into understanding their obligation to practice design in relation to Indigenous sovereignties.

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.