Design educators reflect on the call for the decolonisation of education.
The 2017 National DEFSA conference is hosted by Tshwane University of Technology & Inscape Education Group and will take place from 27 - 29 September 2017 at Freedom Park, City of Tshwane.
The year 2016 will be noted in the annals of history as a watershed year in South African Higher Education. The calls by South African students for decolonised education have been emphatically professed, loud and clear. As design educators, we need to interrogate our role in decolonising design education.
Our Key speaker is Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei, a renowned educator, researcher and writer who is considered by many as one of Canada’s foremost scholars on race and anti-racism studies.
Don't miss our workshop!
Creative Outputs, Research Outputs and Practice-Led Masters and Doctorates in Fashion and Interior Design: a strategic round-table.
With the 2017 #Decolonise! Conference design educators are provided with the opportunity to reflect on, and critically interrogate the notion of Decolonisation in relation to design education with the aim of transforming existing practices. Asking questions on who, what, where, when and how?
Questions that require our urgent attention include:
- What is our understanding of the call for decolonised education?
- How do our curricula and pedagogical approaches stand up to this call? What values, assumptions and truths underlie our discipline?
- To what extent do we incorporate the context and knowledge of the South, and more specifically of Africa into our discipline?
- How do we bring practitioners of design into the conversation?
- How are we contributing textbooks and learning resources to this project?
- What do our students have to say on these issues?
To decolonise the tradition of academic conferences, the sub-themes of this conference will be ‘generated’ by the trends identified in the submissions received taking cognisance of the who, what, where, when and how approach while taking into account the contexts
of the author in design education.
“Makers” and “doers”
James Wang uses Aristotle’s theories of “reason, imagination, and practical intellect” when he writes on “The Importance of Aristotle to Design Thinking” (2013:4). He distinguishes between makers and doers. Makers are concerned with making excellent products while doers are concerned with justice, public values and social issues. Wang claims that designers, with a predisposition as makers, thus have a deficiency in getting involved with real, pertinent social issues. Wang’s argument is based on the theories of one of the founders of Western academe, a trend that is pertinent in many papers delivered at past DEFSA conferences. In contrast to Wang’s distinction between “makers” and “doers”, Buchanan states that “the quality of design is distinguished not merely by technical skill of execution or by aesthetic vision but by the moral and intellectual purpose toward which technical and artistic skill is directed” (2001:37).