Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Ashna Kapadia Graphic Design

De:colonising De:sign

Education Design
Interface Design
Social Change

De:colonising de:sign is a project that started off with an interest in alternative design pedagogy that deviated from the western euro-centric perspective.

It evolved into a larger discussion on epistemological practice. The focus shifted onto bringing value in alternative design knowledge systems as well as examining the role of power, privilege, and wealth within the design education system in forms of tools of practice, visual language, and classroom. Alternative design systems were investigated in a close study of an Indian design school, Santiniketan University.

The process of “decolonising” design is complex. It involves acknowledging that there is an inherent systematic model in design education that is primarily western-centric and breaking down, bit by bit, what these conventions are. Decolonising isn’t to bully or create a divide but it is to educate and analyze to create a well-informed ontological change.

The thesis took shape in a culmination of research on a live website with resources to further one’s knowledge. Readers, discussions, and live workshops were explored. Since this topic is extremely dense, the website can be considered as a container of resources for individuals to understand this topic in more detail, it is an ongoing project that finds different methods and approaches to introduce decentralizing institutional practices.