The Benefits of Incorporating a Decolonised Gaze for Design Education



Graphic Design & Visual Art


  • graphic design, Legitimation Code Theory, decolonisation, knowledge, gaze, assessment

Although calls to decolonise education can be seen as threats to replace existing curricula they can also be seen as an opportunity to scrutinise what is valued in design education and how this might be impacted by calls to decolonise. In this paper, which makes use of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) (Maton 2010a, 2014) to identify the underlying knowledge-knower structure of graphic design assessment, the significance of a specialist gaze for disciplines such as design is outlined. The gaze (Maton 2014) provides knowers with access to the valued knowledge of the discipline and in disciplines such as graphic design is essential to being able to recognise good and bad design and to make the decisions required in the design process.

As design education and the valued knowledge and knower are influenced by factors outside of academia including technology, industry, practice and national education initiatives such as the internationalisation of curricula, design education is particularly vulnerable and open to change. This openness and the challenges of designing for complex problems in today’s world, encourage the cultivation of multiple gazes that value different forms and sources of knowledge, knowing, doing and being. This paper therefore presents the decolonised gaze as a gaze with the potential to strengthen the design knower in acquiring “multicentric ways of knowing/doing/being” (Dei 2013, p. 1) which better equip them to create designs that address complex real-world problems and contribute to positive social change.


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