Keynote Presentation for Transformative Learning Activism and Reflexivity in Education

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description of Activity

Material practices: rearranging the interior.

We are living in a time of crisis where the contemporary model of living no longer works. Arguably this crisis has been brought about by patriarchal Western capitalist modernity – a way of living that is entrenched in binary ways of thinking. The separation of the mind and body in Western philosophy has contributed to the crises that we now find ourselves in, the climate change, mass extinction, global war, the unsettlement of populations, unsustainable ways of living and issues of equality. Architectural thinking and design practice is entangled with these binary systems and the separation of subject from object. I contend that architecture’s methods of abstract production and forms of representation maintain a separation from the world – a separation of body and mind.

The discipline of interior design is central to my practice, both as a visual artist and as an academic responsible for ‘disciplining’ others. Interior design drawing practices are enmeshed with the cultural habits of architecture. In the context of the design studio this is reflected in our daily habits, the action of sitting on a chair, at a desk, with white paper, a fine pen or clutch pencil, and the separation of these practices from the surrounding furniture, human and non-human ecologies within which thinking happens. Feminist philosopher Elizabeth Grosz argues that habits are the repetitive actions through which we organise the lived regularities of our lives. They are the learned daily routines through which we practice. – I suggest, as Grosz that how we practice and our relationship to the world of other living beings, natural forces and material matter has been neglected. By making small changes in the present through changing our daily routines, the furniture, or the materials that we think with, we transform design practice design – and transform the future.
In this paper I aim rethink how the discipline of interior design is practiced. I use an expanded drawing practice to challenge gendered power structures entangled within the interior discipline to find other ways to reconceive the way we live – through process, relationality and collective action.
Period17 Nov 2022
Held atUniversity of Dundee, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational