Author: Decolonising Design (page 1 of 4)

Design and Culture, Vol. 10, n.1 (2018) – Decolonising Design

For the past year, we have been curating and co-editing a special issue for the Design and Culture Journal. We are happy to announce that Volume 10, Issue 1 is out now and includes contributions from Dimeji Onafuwa, Nadine Botha, Uzma Rizvi, Ali Musleh, Uncle Charles Moran + Uncle Greg Harrington + Norm Sheehan, and a roundtable with the eight of us.

Click here to read the issue

We are planning to publish our roundtable directly on our platform, so stay tuned!

DD at Beyond Change: the Swiss Design Network Conference

As part of our participation in the Beyond Change conference in Basel (8-10 March 2018), we are moderating a programme titled “Sorry to be heavy, but heavy is the cost” consisting of two sessions.

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What’s new on

Over the past few months, we have been adding some new content to the Decolonising Design website. What’s new on the site?

Lastly, we would like to remind our readers that our platform is open to guest contributors. We welcome plural voices on design and decoloniality, and in languages other than English. Contact us at decolonisingdesign[at]gmail[dot]com.

[Guest Post] Barbed Wire: The Colonial Legacy of Design in Postcolonial Times

Words by Ksenija Berk

I am writing this paper from a schizophrenic location behind the barbed wire. No, I am not in occupied territories. There is no war going on around me, and no state of exception has officially been declared. And yet, large amounts of barbed wire are mounted on the southern border between Slovenia and Croatia. As if the situation were not problematic enough, metal doors have been placed on several bridges connecting both countries, ready to be shut any minute. Their purpose, in the words of the politicians, is to ‘keep us safe’ if ‘a large number of refugees would have arrived from the South’.[1] What has actually happened, one might ask, to bring us to this point? Let’s take a look at the course of events that has brought about this situation. Over the years, we have borne witness to the appalling situation of more than six million people being internally displaced, with thousands becoming refugees, mostly due to armed conflicts in the Middle East region (Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan). These refugees have embarked upon impossible journeys and attempts to escape from the places of armed conflict to the promise of asylum and shelter in European Union countries. During these journeys, their lives have been endangered in more ways than we can possibly imagine. At the end of 2013, the world witnessed, for the first time since WW2, more than 50 million people being forcibly displaced.[2] Over 5000 of those lost their lives just in the year 2016 alone, with most perishing in the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. Several regulatory regimes of bio-politics [3] on the Balkan route were instituted, and discriminatory power-relations established in order to ‘regulate’ the flow of refugees. In 2015, and for the first time since the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, walls between European countries started to emerge again. From the dark periods of Europe’s past, harmful and controlling objects and devices, such as barbed wire, have quickly made their way from political talk and history books, back into everyday reality. Barbed wire was first introduced by Hungary in 2015, when it was used on the Hungarian and Serbian border; this approach was adopted, rather quickly, by Slovenia when, in 2016, it decided to mount barbed wire on the southern border with Croatia.

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[Guest Post] Shaping mutant desires: exhibiting Gynepunk at the Biennale Internationale Design 2017

Note: This poster was accepted to be presented at the NORDES 2017 Conference in Oslo, Norway; however due to financial constraints and the lack of alternatives offered by the conference itself, the authors had to unfortunately withdraw their submission. We at Decolonising Design stand in solidarity with their effort, and are honoured to publish their contribution in our platform.

You can view/download the original poster (.jpg) by clicking here, or read it below.

Words by Tiphaine Kazi-Tani and Hélène Mourrier .
1/ Introduction: context, issues

This poster aims at presenting and explaining the graphic design project imagined to present an immersive practice-based research mission run to investigate Gynepunk, a DITO/DIWO-based [1] healthcare project, reclaiming the decolonization of gynecology. This project is run in the catalan third-place (Oldenburg, 1989; Burret, 2017) [2] CaLaFou.

This short-term research was part of the transdisciplinary research project investigating third-places called « Expérience Tiers-Lieux » (The Third-Place Experiment) and partly based on short & long-term practice-based immersions within various (bio)hacker spaces, maker spaces, fablabs, etc.

The results of this year-long experiment were exhibited during the Biennale Internationale Design 2017, as the Fork The World exhibition (fig.1).

Fork The World was both an open-source exhibition, and a shared reflexive space discussing alternative forms of governmentality, agency, knowledge, politics, identities, etc (Peyricot, 2017).

Presenting the Gynepunk project in this context raised issues that the authors tried to outline and fix through visual design, among which:

  • taking into account the various public of the event;
  • respecting the collective political commitment of the curatorial team while articulating this specific project to a network of heterogenous (and sometimes adversarial) projects and standpoints;
  • respecting and highlighting the political specificity and integrity of the Gynepunk project, to let a certain friction emerge ; these three dynamics seeming divergent.

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