Decolonizing Design (research materials/ in progress)
UAAC/AAUC Conference
Waterloo, Ontario,
October 2018

@CalArts, MFA Seminar with Gail Swandlund and Yasmin Khan, April 2018
@Pratt Institute, Art History Dept., April 2018

(v1.0/ April 2018)
Decolonizing (graphic) Design:
A conversational lecture and provocation in three parts.

“Design history only looks at western traditions, to a small group of mostly white, mostly upper- or middle-class, mostly male, mostly educated, mostly professional persons. This necessarily means it excludes, as design history conventionally has done, the achievements of women, minorities, non-western practitioners, amateurs, and other groups of individuals that have been considered part of the canon.”
—Marjanne van Helvert, Design Curator, and Critic

Designer and Teacher, Ramon Tejada confronts and questions Design History, and it's lack of representation (in the form of work, practices, practitioners, and perspectives) of people of color and their narratives. Looking at the current state of Design pedagogy and its development to date, Tejada asks how we respond in a culture that is embedded in systems, methods, and structures that colonize our thinking and making? How do we address and question current design pedagogy and its historical precedents?

In a culture that values diversity and inclusion as much as we talk about it in a public sphere, what happens to that conversation when it enters the field of art and design? Does the current cannon need to be debunked in favor of a more intricate, textured narrative that incorporates and highlights voices that Design, it's theory and pedagogy have left behind?

“To watch the TV screen for any length of time is to learn some really frightening thing about the American sense of reality… These images are designed not to trouble, but to reassure, they also weaken our ability to deal with the world as it is, ourselves as we are.”
—James Baldwin

RESEARCH NOTES (old/ 2017—18)
DECOLONIZING (graphic) DESIGN: or where are the Black and Brown People in design (especially in graphic design). research 2017… onward 

The reasons there are so few blacks in the design field are complex and frustrating. But much can be done to change the situation—to the benefit of the field and the society it serves.
—Cheryl D. Miller, 1987

“If the person who gets to tell the story is always one kind of person,” observes filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who describes Hollywood as a white man’s world, “we internalize it, we drink it in as fact.” Hence the need for an alternative reality. “You can’t imagine doing something you can’t even see,” argues Hillary Rodham Clinton. “How do you plan to be an underseas explorer or a general in the military or a great scientist if you don’t see role models?”
—Time magazine, Sept. 2017


GOOGLE search for “Famous” designers

Black Designers: Missing in Action (1987) by Cheryl D. Miller


August Wilson:
The Ground on which I Speak (theater)


Where's the Black in Graphic Design? by Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton


Graphic Design Data USA

Why is Graphic Design 93% White?

AIGA diversity and inclusion Task Force

“Designers get really big and really rich off of our culture, and then you don’t see a motherfucker that looks anything like us in the front row half the time. So let’s make some noise for Philip Plein tonight.”
—NICKI MINAJ, Sept. 9, 2017 @ Phillip Plein's fashion show.

©2010–2019 by Ramon Tejada.