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Designing in Response to Indigenous Sovereignties

EasyChair Preprint no. 3347

8 pagesDate: May 7, 2020


In this paper I present moments of provocation that collectively describe ‘gaps’ within the Western design epistemes. These provocations come through the requirement to be in relation to Indigenous sovereignty and reveal non-Indigenous, design-based practices of passively, innocently deflecting the challenging work of deep epistemic engagement. However, Indigenous sovereignty remains an opportunity to situate the non-Indigenous designer into a practice of designing lawfully on Country. This is to locate design ontologically and epistemically as ‘the guest’ or ‘the visitor’; dependent on and distinct to the Indigenous sovereign host. In this research setting, in Melbourne / Naarm I respond to Kulin practices of Welcoming; Womin Djeka. This paper may also serve as an example to non-Indigenous designers, in global contexts designing, researching and visiting on unceeded lands. On Kulin lands, the sovereign practice of Womin Djeka addresses the guest or visitor and may include the laws of Bunjil. I contend this is a foundation from which to ongoingly, lawfully practice design in response to the ontological and epistemic boundaries set by Indigenous sovereignty.

N.B. The author is a non-Indigenous white man; invited to live and practice Western Eurocentric design on the unceeded lands of the eastern Kulin Nations (Melbourne / Naarm).

Keyphrases: design ontology, epistemes, non-Indigenous, plurality, sovereignty, whiteness, Womin Djeka

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Peter West},
  title = {Designing in Response to Indigenous Sovereignties},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 3347},

  year = {EasyChair, 2020}}
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