Decolonising Spatial Theories, Pedagogies & Practices

Waves of global exploration, colonisation and migration have been transforming local cultures in the Indo-Pacific region, and the Global South. since the 15th century. National settler policies in Australia specifically continue to deterritorialise Indigenous peoples excluding or subordinating their lifeworlds. Decolonising discourse, pedagogy and creative practices in the built environments is now an acute contemporary concern. The University of Melbourne, which is hosting this meeting, is located on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri, and takes an important focus on this place, as well as on the Indo-Pacific region and the Global South more broadly.

Alongside colleagues in all parts of the world, we must address crucial questions that arise from the places where we are:

  • What does it mean to research, teach, and work on the unceded sovereign lands of First Nations peoples?
  • How are the built environment and spatial disciplines complicit in processes of dispossession?
  • How might damaged environments be restored, and how might the connections of people and place be supported in this?
  • How can postcolonial-, immigrant- and refugee settlers build respectful relationships with Indigenous stakeholders that cross race, culture and class?

We invite submissions that grapple with these conundrums across or between theory, pedagogy and creative practice. Engagement with theory might focus on critical race theories, border thinking, postcolonial discourse, Indigenous place-making, situated practices, intersectionality, placelessness, and care relations. A focus on pedagogy could explore or explain practical steps to decolonise/indigenise curriculum in design (architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and interior design), new modes of site-seeing, participatory policy development, Indigenising history & theory, cultural competency education, caring for Country, indigenising pedagogies or teaching practices, and meeting professional competencies for accreditation. Contributions relating to creative practices may share or present non-traditional research outputs, including works that explore place meaning or territorial contestation through design for the built or living environment, digital art, environmental art, critical spatial practices, or traditional craft. All participants will also be invited to join in making a collaborative work called Grounding that connects the physical places where we will gather across the placelessness of Zoom.

Key Dates:

  1. Abstracts (Round 1): 15 July 2023
  2. Feedback: 10 September 2023
  3. Conference: 05-07 December 2023
  4. Full Paper Submissions: 20 February 2024
  5. Full Paper Resubmissions: 30 May 2024
  6. Publications: 15 September 2024

For further information, please visit the AMPS website.