Decolonisation of Design Education in the Spotlight


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Design Education Forum of South Africa
Design Education Forum of South Africa

2016 marked a watershed year in the history of South African Higher Education when students called for decolonised education.

The topic will be deliberated at the 14th National Design Education Conference of the Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA), hosted by the Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of the Arts and Inscape Education Group from 27-29 September 2017 at Freedom Park, Tshwane.

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Prof George Sefa Dei
Prof George Sefa Dei

Renowned educator, researcher and writer, Prof George Sefa Dei, will be the keynote speaker.

At the conference, themed #Decolonise!, design educators will get the opportunity to reflect on, and critically interrogate the notion of decolonisation in relation to design education with the aim of transforming existing practices.


Asked for his views on the forthcoming conference, Prof Dei said: “Decolonisation is an important concept. It is also about moving into practice. If pursued diligently, we can witness the birth of new educational futurities for Africa and the global community.”

He added that the conference promises to engage the cutting-edge scholarship on the topic, fleshing out the tensions, limitations and possibilities of decoloniality as it implicates design education in Africa and other international comparative contexts. “The invited thematic sessions and selected topics are very comprehensive. Together, they will offer an enviable intellectual opportunity for educators to assembly and to convene a critical dialogue on the depth of decolonial education by responding to questions of relevance, application and pragmatics of education,” he indicated.

“Given the growing uncertainties in our world today, particularly, how imperial powers are seeking to redefine their responsibilities to the global community, this conference can be an important space to think through and act on the different and viable options for new educational futures. The promotion of multiple knowledges and epistemes as oppositional discourses will be essential to uncovering the new possibilities to education,” he concluded.


Prof Dei is considered by many as one of Canada’s foremost scholars on race and anti-racism studies. He is a widely sought after academic, researcher and community worker, whose professional and academic work has led to many Canadian and international speaking invitations in the US, Europe and Africa.

Freedom Park
Freedom Park

Currently, he is Professor of Social Justice Education and Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Professor Dei is the 2015 and 2016 Carnegie African Diasporan Fellow. In August 2012, he received the honorary title of Professor Extraordinaire from the School of Education, University of South Africa (Unisa).

He received the 2016 Whitworth Award for Educational Research from the Canadian Education Association (CEA), awarded to the Canadian scholar whose research and scholarship have helped shape Canadian national educational policy and practice.

In June 2007, Professor Dei was installed as a traditional chief in Ghana, specifically, as the Gyaasehene of the town of Asokore, Koforidua in the New Juaben Traditional Area of Ghana. His traditional stool name is Nana Adusei Sefa Tweneboah I.

DEFSA invites all role-players in design education to submit academic papers that will contribute to this discourse.

For the full call for papers and submission criteria, please visit

To register for the conference, visit or contact Sandra de Beer at tel. 012 382 6133.

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