Design theory helps us understand how and why visual information impacts us the way that it does, and how we communicate and receive that information via the design choices we encounter. It affects how we relate to new art and technology, what we buy, and who we uplift in our society. But how have we arrived at the current norms of modernist design, and which voices have been at the forefront of establishing these practices?
In her book Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook, author Dori Tunstall sets out to challenge the paths through European-based standards and practices that have classically informed the design world. In historically excluding the cultures of Indigenous, Black, and People of Color communities, Tunstall argues that modernist design has oppressed the people whose lands and lives it sought to reshape, thus advancing the global project of colonization. This guidebook is focused on the transformation of design theory and practice by addressing these harms and recentering these communities globally across the realm of design.
Tunstall stitches together over 15 years of research and lived experience in the design field, presenting a look at how understanding the decolonization effort offers infinite possibilities within the world of modernist design.
Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is an educator, advocate, and leader within the intersectional design world. Her work has been featured in Print magazine, Fast Company, AIGA’s Eye on Design, and Design Observer, among other venues. She currently serves as Dean of the Faculty of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto, and is the first Black person to hold such a post globally.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.