Abstract

To explore dismantling oppressive power relations in design, we bring to fore design encounters through the lens of relationality and improvisational competence. This paper is based on the premise that, if we are to move toward decolonizing design, design(ers) needs to re-think the organization of the design encounter and how we as designers practice participation in such encounters. We emphasize the improvisational nature of turn-taking in dialogue amidst asymmetric and dynamic power relations, with design’s commitment to generating resources for future practices, and decolonization’s commitment to re-configure power structures. After problematizing the design encounter from a power relation perspective, we explore practice models for developing improvisational competence. We do this by looking at the two improvisational dialogic practices of Capoeira and Improv Theater. We focus on what it can mean to develop skills in “improvisational competence” of relationality in design. We first touch on our previous Participatory Design work in the language learning “in the wild” agenda and then draw on each of our personal improvisational practices: Capoeira martial art, and improvisational theater. We then outline possibilities for relational improvisational design dialogue and conclude by outlining how it can be practiced in Design education and practice.

Keywords

power relation, improvisation, relationality, decolonization

Creative Commons License

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

Conference Track

Research Paper

COinS
 
Jun 25th, 9:00 AM

Improvisational design dialogue: Exploring relational design encounters as means to dismantle oppression in design

To explore dismantling oppressive power relations in design, we bring to fore design encounters through the lens of relationality and improvisational competence. This paper is based on the premise that, if we are to move toward decolonizing design, design(ers) needs to re-think the organization of the design encounter and how we as designers practice participation in such encounters. We emphasize the improvisational nature of turn-taking in dialogue amidst asymmetric and dynamic power relations, with design’s commitment to generating resources for future practices, and decolonization’s commitment to re-configure power structures. After problematizing the design encounter from a power relation perspective, we explore practice models for developing improvisational competence. We do this by looking at the two improvisational dialogic practices of Capoeira and Improv Theater. We focus on what it can mean to develop skills in “improvisational competence” of relationality in design. We first touch on our previous Participatory Design work in the language learning “in the wild” agenda and then draw on each of our personal improvisational practices: Capoeira martial art, and improvisational theater. We then outline possibilities for relational improvisational design dialogue and conclude by outlining how it can be practiced in Design education and practice.

 

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