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Design Knowledge(s)

Independent researcher



Design is a relatively new discipline in Uruguay. The dominant discourse, linked to Industrial Design-ID, has its beginnings in the foundation of the Centre of Industrial Design-
CDI in 1987. This research is an invitation to look further into how ID has played a role in Uruguay -as a global-south country- related to economic and social structures introduced with the implementation of neoliberal production policies.

In line with current global-south design discourses, the research aims to understand the role of institutions in the formation of design knowledge(s?) in Uruguay by approaching the CDI’s foundation from a decolonial worldview. Following the idea of deschooling as a search for alternative systems in combination with an approach to design ontology as a means of autenticidad, I ask: What was the role of educational institutions in the construction of the current dominant design discourse in Uruguay?

The conclusion I reached regards the importance of re-reading history through critically understanding the mixture of socio-political structures surrounding such one dominant design discourse. Whilst uncovering the historical dependency of Uruguay on Europe as its ‘only cultural origins’, it shows the importance of transiting a self-inclusive cultural process, by accepting the pluriversality that has historically converged in the Uruguay cultural formation.

Decolonial design, Uruguayan design, Critical-discourse-analysis, un-learning

About the Author

Lucia Trias holds an MSc Design Research from Bahaus Foundation Dessau, as well as a four year degree in Industrial Design from Universidad de la República Uruguay. My research focuses on using design research methods along with discursive studies.

Based in Berlin, my practice can be found at the intersection of participatory approaches and pluriversal design conceptions. I am a design activist for Free-design, highlighting my work together with Mozilla foundation’s OL programme and my free-design advisory for socio-political collectives.

My life experience as a migrant woman of colour in Berlin has enforced awareness of modern indoctrinations and the design role in such processes. Hence, pluriversal design stands for me first, as a means of understanding my privileges; as a cisgender woman with an academic career, as a legalized migrant, as coming from a working-class family that politicised me in terms of class struggles and capitalist inequalities.

Second, for stating a strongly political positioning towards life in Europe; ultimately pushing a strong interest on me for disentangling colonial structures around culture and knowledge creation. Hence, turning myself into a decolonial thinker, predominantly into an advocate for peoples cultural autonomía.

Co-presented by:

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