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Thriving Futures ACUADS Conference 2023

InterDesiging Network (IDN) team
Passed Event


Across Australasia, design courses within the tertiary education sector continue to remain entrenched in euro-centric narratives and pedagogical approaches, which omit place-specific contexts, cultural histories, knowledges, and diverse ways of designing, including First Nations’. Euro- and Anglo-centrism in design curriculum and teaching practices contribute to students (local and international) feeling alienated and disengaged when their lived experiences, backgrounds and aspirations are not reflected in the classroom. Likewise, educators teaching canonical design narratives from traditional pedagogical approaches have been found it increasingly challenging to relate to their course material and engage students in meaningful learning.

Addressing the conference’s prompt that asks ‘What are the key issues affecting the wellbeing of Art & Design staff and students? What role can Art & Design play in relation to societal wellbeing?’, our paper and presentation will centre positionality, intersectionality and pluriversal approaches as key praxes in design education that have the potential to increase students’ sense of belonging while improving staff confidence and ability to teach from and including diverse perspectives. Through these praxes, we propose to contribute to Design staff and student wellbeing as well as to support the discipline fulfill its societal role through the centring of culture, care, and community.

Our paper and presentation will take the form of a conversation among the authors, 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. Through a dialogical method, we draw out how our positionalities, intersectionality and pluriversal approaches have helped shape how we see and interpret the world around us, with direct impact on how we teach design. Our conversation enables an acknowledgement of our individual lived experiences, insights, and knowledges, while collectively grappling with shared concerns.

Practising and sharing positionality as design educators in this paper, we will also facilitate discussion around common experiences and challenges in the classroom. Through discussing our own efforts, we hope to encourage other educators to join us in creating more diverse design education and thriving futures.

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.