Why are we here? A reflexive story of decolonising

Yoko Akama, Juliette Anich, Areli Avendano Franco, Jaz Choi, Liam Fennessy, Marius Foley, Leah Heiss, Tania Ivanka, Emma Luke, Rowan Page, Tanja Rosenqvist, Juan Sanin, Linus Tan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper grapples with complicities of decolonising as we attempt to unsettle Dominant conventions in Design, which ossify through repetition, such as reoccurring conferences. Such conventions are troubled through questions around labour, privilege and ethics of being present and situated when we come together to share our practices on unceded Indigenous lands. The paper is co-authored by hosts of a conference that leveraged the organising mechanisms to surface implicit agendas, interrogate normalised approaches and confront tensions and paradoxes of decolonising our own practices. Instead of obeying disciplinary expectations to propose methodologies or 'alternative' conference engagements, we reflexively share unsettling complicities in responding to a penetrating question by an Indigenous Elder, 'why are you here and what is your purpose?' Rather than discussing decolonising through arms-length theory, we share our endeavours through practice and ontologies of our feeling-thinking (sentipensar), to offer learnings and thoughts towards what is yet still to do.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPDC 2022 - Embracing Cosmologies
Subtitle of host publicationExpanding Worlds of Participatory Design, Proceedings of the 17th Participatory Design Conference
EditorsVasilis Vlachokyriakos, Joyce Yee, Gronvall Erik, Raquel Noronha, Andrea Botero, Chiara Del Gaudio, Yoko Akama, Rachel Clarke, John Vines
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450393881
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2022
Event17th Participatory Design Conference - Embracing Cosmologies: Expanding Worlds of Participatory Design, PDC 2022 - Virtual, Online, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Aug 20221 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference17th Participatory Design Conference - Embracing Cosmologies: Expanding Worlds of Participatory Design, PDC 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityVirtual, Online


  • decolonising
  • Indigenous
  • labour
  • ontology
  • positionality
  • reflexivity

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