Keynote 14: Designing in the peripheries

Designing in the peripheries: the politics of challenging dominance and embracing pluralities

Monday 4th February 2019, 6pm, RCA Kensington

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We would like to invite you to the 14th LDoc Keynote event. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception to which all are welcome.

Design has multiple lineage that draws upon different knowledge systems, practices, ontologies, even though the dominant understanding has a singular geo-political reference point. This talk speaks to the challenges for us all, as practitioners, researchers, students and educators of design, to not dislocate or disembody designing from the sites in which it lives. Heterogeneous practices as designs have always been active under other names, continually constituted by various blends of cultures, relationships, materials, histories, philosophies and worldviews to become relevant to certain localities and situations. This means we have an obligation to be mindful of our own participation in dominance and displacement. This unintended displacement can happen when the power and penetration of a body of work from one region in the world, when regularly referenced, reinforces authority through a perpetual circular frame that smothers heterogeneity. I hope this talk goes some way to become starting points for an expansive discussion towards embracing pluralities.


About Yoko Akama

Yoko Akama is a design researcher at RMIT University, Australia. She co-leads the Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific network and has recently published a co-authored book Uncertainty and Possibility. Her Japanese heritage has embedded a Zen-informed relational practice to carve a path (道) in design and has published extensively on this topic. This practice is shaped by working with regional communities in Australia in strengthening their resilience for disaster preparedness, and with Indigenous Nations enact their sovereignty and self-determination.