Pluriversal Spaces for Decolonizing Design: Exploring Decolonial Directions for Participatory Design
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Decolonization is a situated effort as it relates to the relations of privilege, power, politics, and access (3P-A, in Albarrán González’s terms) between the people involved in design in relation to wider societies. This complexity creates certain challenges for how we can understand, learn about, and nurture decolonization in design towards pluriversality, since such decolonizing effort is based on the relationship between specific individuals and the collective. In this paper, we present and discuss the ‘River project’, a participatory space for decolonizing design, created for designers and practitioners to reflect on their own 3P-A as a way to create awareness of their own oppressive potential in design work. These joint reflections challenged ideas of participation and shaped learning processes between the participants, bringing to the foreground the importance of seeing and allowing for a plurality of life and work worlds to be brought together. We build on the learnings from this project to propose the notions of pluriversal participation, pluriversal presence, and pluriversal directionality, which can help nurture decolonizing designs towards pluriversality. We conclude by arguing that, for nurturing pluriversality through Participatory Design, participation, presence, and direction must be equally pluriversal.
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