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Walking Decolonially through Design for Sustainabilities: exploring anti-oppressive and decolonial directions for design

PhD project Design, and us, as people and professionals, exist intertwined with oppressive global structures of power and privilege. Dismantling such oppressive structures implies a dismantling and reconstruction of Design itself.

This research project looks at colonizing oppression and Design replicates and relates to coloniality power structures with the intention to dismantle and explore direction for Design that are decolonial and anti-oppressive.

Project overview

Project period:

2017-01-09 2022-04-30

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Umeå Institute of Design

Research area


Project description

This PhD research explores anti-oppressive and decolonial approaches to Design for Sustainability.

The departure point for this study is a perspective that a fundamental change needed to reach sustainabilities is the shift from an oppressive and competitive Western modern/colonial capitalist structure to a just and collaborative way of organizing life with the planet (Mignolo, 2012; Ostrom, 2009; Schumacher, 1973). As Design exists intertwined with oppressive hegemonic structures, design has to shift toward not being oppressive while also helping dismantle modern/colonial oppressive hierarchies.

Departing from my Brazilian nationality and my experience in working in both former-colonial and Western countries, I explore through projects how we can come together and engage across cultures and worldviews to co-create pluriversal futures and change Design towards a decolonial ethos. My main question is: Who are we when we are together?  The focus of this project is on engagements with others (people, palces and times) in Design in order to explore decolonial directions departing from how Design understands, interacts and deal with peoples, places and time.

Latest update: 2021-11-18