2017

Reimagining Design Education Through Empathy

Keywords: 

Discipline: 

Design Education Strategy

This paper will explore my intervention into decolonising design education as a response to bell hooks’ call for a teaching philosophy that recognises empathy and respect as devices for freedom and sustainable world making. By reflecting on my experience as a recent Masters degree graduate, a newly appointed first-year design lecturer and as a design mentor on a youth training programme I will provide evidence that, in the right learning environment, such a pedagogical approach is possible.

Transforming Fashion Education to Design with Intent

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Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Two fundamental shifts are currently evident in design. Firstly, a growing call to integrate research and praxis is evident. Secondly, a call to move fashion design praxis to more relevant and value-adding environmental sustainable and user-centred design approaches is emerging. As such, fashion education should align itself to such shifts.

Using Digital Imaging Technology to Decolonize Education in a Museum Context

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Discipline: 

Software, UX & Game Design

Museum information and knowledge is persistently understood and communicated according to Eurocentric concepts and provides only a limited account of the experience of the museum environment as place.  In this paper we develop a conceptual framework to guide how Digital Imaging Technology (DIT) can change the situation to an inclusive, less hegemonic approach.

Contesting the Decolonisation Narrative: Towards an Entrepreneurship Based Graphic Design Curricula

Reinventing design teaching in an era of exponential growth

Keywords: 

Discipline: 

Design Education Strategy

Students across the globe are demanding a change in education.  In South Africa, the call is for ‘decolonisation’ of higher education.  Initially, the call was for free higher education, but students then demanded a significant overhaul of higher education; from the removal of symbols celebrating white supremacy, to a change in the selection criteria and policies to promote applicants on more indicators than academic aptitude alone.

Object Biographies as a method for Communication Design students to construct knowledge in the Design Studies classroom

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Discipline: 

Media & Communications Design

This paper reports on the use of object biography writing as a method for Communication Design students to construct knowledge in the Design Studies classroom. Students used a guideline constructed around the stages of the birth, life and death of an object to write an object biography on a mass-manufactured object of their own choice with a focus on how the object is used by individuals to construct and express gender identity.

“Community” as the basic architectural unit: rethinking research and practice towards a decolonised education

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Discipline: 

Architecture & Built Environment

As a contribution to the decolonisation debate, we need to develop theoretical frameworks that are better suited to diverse contexts, specifically Africa, and we need to elevate local knowledge systems, thinking that originates from the African continent and architectural theory from African scholars. It also demands a shift from documentation (which we tend to do when studying Africa) to interpretation and the development of new theories and new methodologies of research and practice.

Decolonizing Thought Practices with Discussion Approaches for Built Environment Educators

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Discipline: 

Architecture & Built Environment

Decolonization is a globally relevant redress of local customs and practices that have remained altered since the times of historic colonial expansion. In South Africa, education forms one such set of customs and practices and the built environment another. Educators in the field of built environments share a responsibility to challenge the accepted norms under colonial systems and find ways in which to facilitate the creation of built environments that reflect the needs and aspirations of their society. Seepe (2004, pp. 160-174) urges us to rethink curriculum functioning, and attitude in the context of African traditions, conscientiously instilling relevance in both the system and the resulting products of that system. ‘In our curricula lies the very identity of our society.

A Humanistic Approach to Designing and Assessing Interactive-narrative Based Social Interventions

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Discipline: 

Software, UX & Game Design

Decolonising digital media design education requires an investigation of possible techniques that can be taught to designers as a way of approaching interactive design with an emancipatory agenda. Traditionally, interactive-media studies have been taught from a positivist or psychological stance focusing predominantly on theories of human activity and cognition. In this paper I argue that the humanities offer an additional social and ethnographic lens with which to focus on the socio-historic, political and economic context of interactive media artefacts.

Doing Research to Decolonise Research: to Start at the very Beginning.

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Discipline: 

Design Education Research

The paper proceeds from the perspective that to decolonise education one needs to start from the position of decolonising research as practice. It proceeds to argue that to attempt to enter the halls of research to decolonise it, one needs, indeed, to decolonise the pursuits of research which are the pursuits of knowledge. A central domain of this pursuit lies in the notion of Africa-centred knowledges. The paper concludes by arguing that designers sit in the cusp or at the forefront of decolonised research endeavours, as they pursue human flourishing (instead of ‘research’) and the search for practical wisdom (or phronesis) instead of knowledge.

Slow Design (Into Eyilwe Ngokwendeleyo): The Potential for a Decolonized Space Through Graphic Design

Preparing Fashion Students for a Socially Engaged University Project through Zulu Proverbs

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Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

In this paper, I respond to the sub-question about the extent to which design educators can incorporate our context and knowledge of Africa into our design disciplines. I provide an example of a socially-engaged design project from a fashion department at a South African University of Technology (UoT) in which second-year fashion students participated. I argue that this project can be framed as an example of critical citizenship education as forwarded by Johnson and Morris (2010). I also grapple with how a diverse student body can be prepared for a design project that perceives the transformation of society as an end.

Research Sleeping Dogs in Fashion Design Departments of South African Universities: A Decolonisation Obstacle?

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Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

South African universities are exploring strategies to decolonise higher education in response to student’s calls. This manuscript investigates research sleeping dogs in fashion design departments of South African universities.  Research sleeping dogs are defined as academic staff who do not have a doctorate qualification, resulting in their inability to fully perform research related activities. Through 2015 data sets sourced from CHET (2017) and Mbatha & Mastamet-Mason (n/d), a benchmark was done of the academic qualifications of staff in fashion design departments of South African universities against national academic qualifications of staff.

History of African indigenous costumes and textiles: Towards decolonising a fashion design curriculum.

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Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

Worldwide, a close connection is demonstrated between the clothes worn by people and their cultural or political expression. The subject covering the history of costume taught in many fashion schools or institutions, focuses primarily on Western ideologies with little to no African concepts addressed. This paper explores the availability of a rich history of African costume and textiles that have remained indigenous to many people in most parts of Africa. Some of the examples include the dressing styles of the Maasai of East Africa, Adire textile influences of the Yoruba from West Africa and the Himba and Ndebele from Southern Africa.

Decolonising Fashion Education with Athol Fugard's Boesman and Lena

Keywords: 

Discipline: 

Fashion, Jewellery & Textile Design

At undergraduate level, research design and methodology was never a formalised part of the fashion education curriculum. Furthermore, fashion-related modules tend to comprise content predominantly of a Western nature: for example, the ‘history of fashion’ is often presented from a European perspective. In comparison to the vast, multi-disciplinary discourse relating to Western fashion, literature on African fashion is limited, which poses challenges for teaching, learning and curriculum transformation. The call for decolonisation has established a need to narrow this gap.

Design Education as Woke Work

Keywords: 

Discipline: 

Design Education Strategy

Ashraf Jamal (2016b, p. 68) regards the work Us and them, the killer of the world by artist Simphiwe Ndzube (2015) as an important signifier of the sociopolitical turmoil in the national psyche which openly erupted in the Rhodes Must Fall campaign in March of that year. Jamal highlights the essential work of interrogating social realities such as inequality on a structural level (which he argues this artwork accomplishes). He also reminds us that the dynamic of 'us and them' does not passively play out in institutions such as universities, invested in sustaining neoliberal interests as they are, but is actively replicated in such institutions.

In Your Hands & Self-Portrait: Introductory Spatial Design Exercises in the First-year Studio

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Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art

This paper considers the discrepancies in the visual literacy of students prior to entering spatial design education at a public higher-educational institution. Because the school subjects Visual Arts and Engineering Graphics and Design provide feeder skills to visual literacy, students with exposure to these subjects tend to have higher visual literacy than students who are unlikely to have received exposure to these subjects. This is problematic because Visual Arts and Engineering Graphics and Design are not on offer in all public South African schools.

Don’t Touch Me on My Discipline! Decolonisation, Disciplinarity and the Problem of Curricular Coherence

Keywords: 

Discipline: 

Design Education Strategy

Since the mid 1990’s, recurriculation efforts in South Africa have been marked by ideological complexity. Although there is general agreement, post-apartheid, that curriculum should contribute to the construction of a just, equitable and democratic post-apartheid society, the question of how to get there is not straightforward. Broadly speaking, in the new South Africa, curriculum reform has been oriented around a liberal democratic notion of transformation.

The Benefits of Incorporating a Decolonised Gaze for Design Education

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Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art

Although calls to decolonise education can be seen as threats to replace existing curricula they can also be seen as an opportunity to scrutinise what is valued in design education and how this might be impacted by calls to decolonise. In this paper, which makes use of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) (Maton 2010a, 2014) to identify the underlying knowledge-knower structure of graphic design assessment, the significance of a specialist gaze for disciplines such as design is outlined. The gaze (Maton 2014) provides knowers with access to the valued knowledge of the discipline and in disciplines such as graphic design is essential to being able to recognise good and bad design and to make the decisions required in the design process.

Student Perceptions on Curriculum Change: Art and Design Theory within a New Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree at Nelson Mandela University.

Keywords: 

Discipline: 

Design Education Strategy

This paper seeks to describe changes made to the Visual Studies course at the Nelson Mandela University in light of calls for the decolonisation of curricula, and to assess the impact of these changes by reviewing student responses to the revised curriculum. Using this course as a case study, the paper   reflects on students’ experiences of attempts at decolonisation, and seeks to contribute directions for further change.

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