Decolonial design practices: Creating safe spaces for plural voices on contested pasts, presents, and futures

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This article introduces the concept of the ‘safe space’ in design interventions: a socially developed environment for thoughts, actions, and mutual learning in political and contested contexts. The safe space responds to current challenges within decolonial design practices and calls for a plurality of knowledge and voices. We present a study in which we developed safe spaces with young Namibians by combining core elements of design anthropology and community-based participatory design through interventions, dialogic engagements, and co-design. We demonstrate how the intentional design practice of a safe space enables new ways of working in a contested context. The article presents a framework for designing and developing safe spaces, focusing on working with multiple temporalities and the social production of spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101170
JournalDesign Studies
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Decolonial design, Participatory design, Design anthropology, Design practice, research methods

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