Decolonizing Design and Modes of Criticism
Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg, Ravensburg
22 February 2018
Given the current changes in our understanding of design, many design theorists are engaged in a reorientation of the discipline. Today, socially engaged, ecologically motivated and humanitarian design projects designated as examples of “critical design”, are forging ahead. These approaches, emerging from a rigid dialogue within Western culture, are often touted around the world as all-curing panacea. Although the projects are usually well-intentioned, it is also possible to view them as a new form of design colonialism – and this is the topic for discussion at the Dinnertime Talk “Decolonizing Design & Modes of Criticism” being held at the Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW).
Klaus Birk and Holger Lund, both professors at the DHBW are the organisers of the Dinnertime Talks, where two discussion partners face each other head-to-head. The upcoming round of discussion will address the question of a new, decolonised design discourse and the positioning of critical design within it. To this end, two research bodies have been invited: Decolonizing Design is a multinational design research group that aims to establish a comprehensive understanding of the complexities, challenges and political implications of design objects. This goal presupposes a departure from the exclusive exchange of ideas taking place along the North Atlantic axis, which currently has a monopoly in design discourse and practice. In order to initiate change and cultivate sustainable alternatives, it is not enough to diversify existing institutions; power structures have to be completely deconstructed, they contend. Pedro Oliveira and Luiza Prado will represent the research group.
They will be talking to Francisco Laranjo, design researcher and founder of the international publication Modes of Criticism. The publication and the eponymous research platform contend that in order to develop a critical design practice, designers have to view design as a form of critique. The Dinnertime Talk will take place at the university on 22 February 2018 at 7 pm.