Tshwane University of Technology and Inscape Education Group will be hosting the 14th National Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA) conference in September 2017. The conference runs from 27 to 29 September at Freedom Park, in the City of Tshwane.
Given the challenges that higher education faces in South Africa and around the world, the theme of the conference is the Decolonising of Design Education. Many forms of design and design education will be addressed, such as Communication, Graphic, Fashion, Architecture, Engineering, User Experience, Audio-Visual, Interior, Environmental and Experience to name a few. The 2017 conference theme looks not only at how design curricula might change, but why this change to address decolonization should take place. In addition to 50 plus local and international design academics who will present their research and insights, the keynote speaker Ghanaian-born Professor George Sefa Dei adds his perspective as one Canada’s foremost scholars on race and anti-racism studies.
As past DEFSA President Amanda Breytenbach points out in a 2009 paper, DEFSA aims to foster design education by providing a platform for researchers to network, share their findings and to publish. Since its inception in 1991 DEFSA has held National and International conferences every year, or every second year. This year sees a hosting collaboration between a Public institution; TUT and a Private institution; Inscape, with conference coordinators from both institutions, Herman Botes (Acting Head of Department TUT) and Sue Giloi (Provost at Inscape). The venue of Freedom Park which was established to acknowledge those who gave their lives in the name of freedom and to celebrate South Africa’s diversity, is a fitting site to hold a conference that addresses a weighty topic such as decolonization. In addition to the conference, DEFSA has over the years arranged various workshops tied to the conference. Workshops in the past aimed to develop research skills, such as academic publishing, and to debate curriculum design within specific design disciplines. This year’s workshop, to be held on Friday 29th September as part of the conference is coordinated by Prof Alan Munro and will debate and define creative outputs as the equivalent of research outputs.
The 2017 DEFSA conference promises to deliver innovative research and thinking around the conference theme from academics representing fifteen local and international institutions. It is set to provide an exciting platform to debate the challenges facing design education.
Bookings for the conference are open and anyone interested can register at http://www.defsa.co.za/