Emerging Technology, Design and Indigenous Culture event, Media Design School, 10th May, Auckland

6 months ago by

Design and indigenous culture: taking emerging technology back
Written by Sarah Elsie Baker and Jodi Meadows
Media Design School

The field of design (or Design with a capital ‘D’) has largely been influenced by European ideas, values and aesthetics. As Johnson Witehira so astutely wrote a couple of months ago, the history of design is a product of colonisation and it continues to influence the way that design is thought about in Aotearoa, New Zealand. One of the ways to challenge this legacy is to acknowledge and value the unique work that takes place in local contexts.

A decolonisation of design would include different ways of thinking about the past, including, for instance, a recognition of indigenous women as the first technologists. It would also involve alternative ways of thinking about design and technology in the present and the future. Indeed, it would move away from the very idea that emerging technologies are always progressive, as well as challenge the notion of a single ‘neutral’ automated future that is ‘shared by all’. These ideas perpetuate the status quo and only seem remotely legitimate in corporate mock-ups because they are devoid of certain types of people, animals, and environments.

So how can we begin to intervene? That is the question that we asked ourselves when planning the ‘Emerging Technology, Design and Indigenous Culture’ event to be held at Media Design School on the 10th May 2017.

We decided to showcase designers and artists working with existing and emerging technologies who are inspired by their unique local cultures and communities. Speakers will include: Tristan Schultz, David Hakaraia, Siliga David Setoga, Janet Lilo, Johnson MacKay, and Ali Cowley, while the afternoon will focus on ‘Design: Approaching Maori Cultural Concepts with Confidence’, 3D Printing: Addressing Pacific Waste’, and ‘Decolonising Design Futures’.

By holding this event we want to consider how creative practitioners deal with the tensions and synergies produced by working with both the customary and the contemporary; to ask how local communities can become involved with new technologies; and to explore how we can decolonise the future of design, as well as its past.


Emerging Technology, Design and Indigenous Culture
Wednesday 10th May, 9.30am–4.00pm
Tickets are FREE but numbers are limited so register now!

Media Design School
92 Albert Street
Auckland, Auckland 1010



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