Global Arts and Cultures

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Ahmed Ansari | Decolonial Perspectives on Design Ethnography: Privileging Local Ontologies from the Global South

Virtual Lecture

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

This talk aims to introduce the audience to a perspective from cultural anthropology little known in design anthropology or ethnographic research in design: that of the recent 'ontological turn'. The discussion will begin around issues related to ethnographic 'shallowness' within the context of design research and will then move to what a turn to taking radical alterity and ontological\cosmological difference seriously might entail, with a focus on discussing reflexivity and getting to unquestioned assumptions that frame one’s research, and imagination and speculation both as research practice and the outcomes of design research. The talk will conclude with a reflection on why a shift towards local ontologies in design research is necessary for decolonization and the emergence of new, local design paradigms and ways of thinking technics in relation to culture.

Ahmed Ansari

Ahmed Ansari is an Industry Assistant Professor at New York University at the Integrated Digital Media program in the department of Technology, Culture & Society, where he teaches courses in interaction and systems design, design research, and design studies.

His research interests intersect between critical design studies and history, postcolonial and decolonial theory, and pre-colonial philosophy and history of design and technology in the Indian subcontinent.

He was a founding member of the Decolonising Design platform and the Architecture Design Research Lab in Karachi. He also does academic consulting focusing on curriculum development at the undergraduate level, and has helped design the curricula for the design programs at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and Habib University in Karachi. In March 2020 he began running a weekly design discussion series that is free and open to the public.