Across Australasia, design courses within the tertiary education sector continue to remain entrenched in euro-centric narratives and pedagogical approaches, which omit place-specific contexts, cultural histories, knowledges, and diverse ways of designing, including First Nations’. Euro- and Anglo-centrism in design curriculum and teaching practices contribute to students (local and international) feeling alienated and disengaged when their lived experiences, backgrounds and aspirations are not reflected in the classroom. Likewise, educators teaching canonical design narratives from traditional pedagogical approaches have found it increasingly challenging to relate to their course material and engage students in meaningful learning.
Addressing the conference’s prompt that asks ‘What are the key issues affecting the wellbeing of Art & Design staff and students? What role can Art & Design play in relation to societal wellbeing?’, our paper and presentation will centre positionality, intersectionality and pluriversal approaches as key praxes in design education that have the potential to increase students’ sense of belonging while improving staff confidence and ability to teach from and including diverse perspectives. Through these praxes, we aim to contribute to Design staff and student wellbeing and support the discipline in fulfilling its societal role of foregrounding culture, care, and community.
Our paper and presentation will take the form of a conversation among the authors, who are design educators working across the Asia-Pacific region and have come together to de-link from the dominance of Western design education, to unpack the intersections between pluriversality, decoloniality and intersectionality within our own teaching practices. Through a dialogical method, we draw out how our positionalities, intersectionality and pluriversal approaches have helped shape how we see and interpret the world around us, with direct impact on how we teach design. Our conversation enables an acknowledgement of our individual lived experiences, insights, and knowledges, while collectively grappling with shared concerns. By practising positionality as design educators in this paper, we will also facilitate discussions around common experiences and challenges in the classroom. Through sharing our efforts, we hope to encourage other educators to join us in creating more diverse design education for thriving futures.