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Decolonizing participatory design: Memory making in Namibia

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review



  • Rachel Charlotte Smith
  • Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Namibia University of Science and Technology
  • ,
  • Asnath Paula Kambunga
  • ,
  • Sarala Krishnamurthy, Namibia University of Science and Technology

Participatory Design (PD) approaches seem particularly well suited to contribute to debates over power and decolonization in design, yet often lack considerations of cultural situatedness and underlying ontological entanglements. In this paper we identify theoretical and methodological gaps in PD relating to contemporary discourses of decolonizing design. We integrate perspectives from PD and postcolonial discourse to explore how we can create more far-reaching examples of decolonizing design in practice. We present a study in which young Namibians are at the forefront of knowledge production on postcolonial memories and contribute to discussions of how decolonizing PD practices may be developed through contextualized, transdisciplinary, and transcultural approaches. In particular, we argue there is a need for a "safe space," as well as continuing reflection on methods and de-linking of knowledge and epistemologies within the PD process itself.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPDC '20: Proceedings of the 16th Participatory Design Conference 2020 - Participation(s) Otherwise
EditorsChiara Del Gaudio, Leonardo Parra-Agudelo
Number of pages11
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication year2020
ISBN (print)9781450377003
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event16th Participatory Design Conference: Participation(s) Otherwise, PDC 2020 - Manizales, Colombia
Duration: 15 Jun 202019 Jun 2020


Conference16th Participatory Design Conference: Participation(s) Otherwise, PDC 2020

    Research areas

  • Decolonisation, Knowledge production, Local epistemologies, PD methods, Postcolonialism

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