Connecting Indigenous Cultures to Design Pedagogy


Session Title:

  • Education

Presentation Title:

  • Connecting Indigenous Cultures to Design Pedagogy



  • Abstract (long paper)

    To move beyond the homogeny currently extant in design, Alain Findeli posits design should broaden its scope of inquiry. I will argue that to facilitate this shift and enable more culturally expressive design solutions, Indigenous symbols and visual spatial strategies should be acknowledged within design pedagogy. This study introduces the Pasifika ideologies of TaVā (time and space) and teu le vā (sacred connections) to illustrate the relevance and opportunity afforded design when Indigenous ideologies and aesthetics are purposefully imbued. Although the use of the term ‘savage’ infers a level of hegemony, Owen Jones was one of the first to ratify culture within design when he stated, “The eye of the savage accustomed only to look upon Nature’s harmonies, would readily enter into the perception of the true balance both of form and colour.” To illustrate the relevance of Indigenous ideology design students at Victoria University, investigate individual cultural legacies to identify and validate their heritage within design. Having acknowledged these sacred connections the students employ both analogue and digital media to parallel Modernist principles alongside Indigenous markings of time in space in which geometry is used to create the common goal, beauty from chaos.

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