A respectful design framework incorporating indigenous knowledge in the design process

Lizette Reitsma, Ann Light, Tariq Zaman, Paul Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Contributionpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


To stay within the planetary boundaries, we have to take responsibility, and this includes designers. This requires new perspectives on design. In this work, we focus on a co-design project with indigenous communities. Within such communities, indigenous knowledge is central. Indigenous knowledge acknowledges that the world is alive and that we, as humans, are merely a small part. Central in our approach is Sheehan's respectful design, which ensures a central place for indigenous knowledge in the design process. However, Sheehan's approach does not state in pragmatic terms how such a design approach can be achieved. Some of the co-design processes we engaged in led to respectful design spaces, others did not. This helped us to identify patterns of dynamics that are essential for respectful design. At the core of our findings lies the observation that in order to reach a respectful design space, in which indigenous knowledge is embedded, a shared dialogical space between community and designer is essential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1570
Number of pages16
JournalDesign Journal
Issue numberSup 1
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019
EventRunning with Scissors: 13th International Conference of the European Academy of Design - Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019


  • co-design
  • indigenous knowledge
  • communities
  • design approach
  • ownership


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