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Recognizing appropriate representation of Indigenous knowledge in professional design practice
journal contributionposted on 2016-04-01, 00:00 authored by Meghan KellyMeghan Kelly, Russell KennedyRussell Kennedy
This paper focuses on the need for designers to follow clear, concise, workable practises to engage appropriately and ethically with indigenous knowledge on projects involving the graphical depiction of indigenous culture. Incorporating indigenous symbols into visual communication design strategies impacts a wide range of stakeholders and therefore requires a sensitive approach with broad consultation in regard to permissions and intellectual property rights; issues can be worked through if respectful practice methods are applied. This paper acknowledges cultural appropriation is not new and that creative, cross cultural interpretation and expressions of hybridity should be encouraged. However respectful communication, consultation, and collaboration are required whenever commercial application of indigenous culture is attempted. To demonstrate the need for clarity, three case study examples will be presented, each with design solutions involving the use of graphical depictions of indigenous culture and each selected due to the varying degrees of stakeholder engagement undertaken in the design process. The introduction of the ladder of stakeholder engagement theory is a new concept introduced in this paper that can be employed to better consider the appropriate and ethical engagement of designers with indigenous knowledge.