9 June 2020

The Design History Society condemns the brutal killing of George Floyd and the many individuals who have lost lives and suffered as a result of racist violence in recent years and the past in the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond. The Society condemns systemic practices of marginalisation and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, class and intersectionality. As such, we stand in solidarity with Black and other minority communities who are currently challenging police violence and protesting against systemic inequalities by way of collective action.

Design, in shaping our everyday lives, is central to redressing histories of oppression and in enacting pragmatic change. As a membership organisation we support research that re-evaluates and challenges hegemonic histories of design, through our Strategic Research Grant and by supporting projects such as the ‘Decolonising Design History’ panel at the 2020 College Arts Association conference, and workshop series ‘Shifting Perspectives: Underrepresented Voices in Design History’ (postponed due to Covid-19). We are also committed to publishing articles from a range of geographies and multiple perspectives in the Journal of Design History.

Over the past year, in response to the Royal Historical Society’s Race, Ethnicity and Equality Report (2018), we have started assessing the Society’s work in areas of representation, supporting research that works towards decolonising the discipline and creating a space for marginalised scholars, researchers and students to shape the future of the discipline. We recognise we have much work to do.

We encourage our members to use Design History teaching and research to challenge social injustices. We have gathered some resources here, which tutors might find useful in the classroom.


Decolonising Design

Various resources on decolonising design; architecture and race; landscape and indigeneity

Decolonising politics curricula: pedagogies, strategies and reflections. Roundtable discussion

SOAS blog Decolonising SOAS Learning and Teaching

Carlos Tejeda and Manuel Espinoza. “Toward a Decolonizing Pedagogy”

Charles, Elizabeth. “Decolonizing the Curriculum”. Insights 32 (1): 24, 2019.

Crenshaw, K., Harris, L.C., Martinez Hosing, D., and Lipsitz, G., Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness across the Disciplines. Oakland: University of California Press, 2019

Audio Visual Resources:

BBC Moral Maze, ‘“Decolonising” the Curriculum’ 13 February 2019

Arturo Escobar: Designs for the Pluriverse // Clark University Atwood Lecture

Danah Abdullah “Scratching the Surface” podcast


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