Abstract

Emancipatory research is a research perspective of producing knowledge that can be of benefit to disadvantaged people. It is an umbrella term that can include many streams of critical theory based research such as feminist, disability, race and gender theory. One of the key assumptions in emancipatory research is that there are multiple realities, and that research is not only created by the ‘dominant or elite researcher’. Given the development of branches of design research such as inclusive design, participatory design and design for social innovation, where the designer interacts with and designs with and for people who may be marginalized for reasons of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, economic background etc., designers should be introduced to the concept of emancipatory research during their education, so that they will be able to recognise the impact of their own privilege on their practice and develop research interventions that are sensitive to this. This paper examines the aims and principles of emancipatory research, and uses guidelines on evaluating emancipatory research-based interventions, borrowing from disability studies, to analyse three interventions between designers from the ‘centre’ and artisans from the ‘periphery’, to assess whether these interventions can be considered emancipatory or not.

Keywords:

emancipatory research, participatory design, design for development

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 17th, 12:00 AM

Promoting an emancipatory research paradigm in Design Education and Practice

Emancipatory research is a research perspective of producing knowledge that can be of benefit to disadvantaged people. It is an umbrella term that can include many streams of critical theory based research such as feminist, disability, race and gender theory. One of the key assumptions in emancipatory research is that there are multiple realities, and that research is not only created by the ‘dominant or elite researcher’. Given the development of branches of design research such as inclusive design, participatory design and design for social innovation, where the designer interacts with and designs with and for people who may be marginalized for reasons of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, economic background etc., designers should be introduced to the concept of emancipatory research during their education, so that they will be able to recognise the impact of their own privilege on their practice and develop research interventions that are sensitive to this. This paper examines the aims and principles of emancipatory research, and uses guidelines on evaluating emancipatory research-based interventions, borrowing from disability studies, to analyse three interventions between designers from the ‘centre’ and artisans from the ‘periphery’, to assess whether these interventions can be considered emancipatory or not.

 

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