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



Graphic Design & Visual Art


  • detraditionalisation, graphic design, entrepreneurship, decolonisation




The waves of decolonisation rhetoric flooding across South Africa’s postsecondary education landscape are undeniable. Whilst acknowledging the historical precedents and present day anomalies that fuel these calls, the authors are sceptical of the relevance of decolonisation as an epistemological and philosophical catalyst for reforming and rethinking higher education curricula and practice. Decolonisation, as a term apropos to and derived from the moment of political decolonisation in many African countries during the mid-twentieth century, is both problematic and polarising. Thus, in this paper we contest the decolonisation narrative, especially within the framework of design curricula, instead arguing for the detraditionalisation, recontextualisation and ultimately 21st-centurisation of an African based graphic design university curriculum by, inter alia, enhancing it with appropriate entrepreneurship theories. The need for entrepreneurship infused graphic design education is necessitated by an increasingly challenging and complex contemporary climate where graphic design practitioners are expected to possess skills that extend beyond the realms of design. The paper posits that augmenting entrepreneurship principles to those that presently persist in graphic design education, as opposed to decolonising it, will result in “developing and designing locally and regionally relevant curricula” (Le Grange 2016, p.8) which will equip graduates to respond to and successfully navigate the ever changing demands of contemporary graphic design practice. Some recommendations on how contextually appropriate entrepreneurship theories can be effectively infused into university level graphic design curricula are provided.

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