Why are we here? A reflexive story of decolonising

This paper grapples with complicities of decolonising as we attempt to unsettle Dominant conventions in Design, which ossify through repetition, such as reoccurring conferences. Such conventions are troubled through questions around labour, privilege and ethics of being present and situated when we come together to share our practices on unceded Indigenous lands. The paper is co-authored by hosts of a conference that leveraged the organising mechanisms to surface implicit agendas, interrogate normalised approaches and confront tensions and paradoxes of decolonising our own practices. Instead of obeying disciplinary expectations to propose methodologies or ‘alternative’ conference engagements we reflexively share unsettling complicities in responding to a penetrating question by an Indigenous Elder, ‘why are you here and what is your purpose?’ Rather than discussing decolonising through arms-length theory, we share our endeavours through practice and ontologies of our feeling-thinking (sentipensar), to offer learnings and thoughts towards what is yet still to do.

A recording of the research presentation is available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZMqp6nW0Ug.