A Cultural Justice Guidebook
- Included in Fast Company's "7 design books to look forward to in 2023"
A guidebook to the institutional transformation of design theory and practice by restoring the long-excluded cultures of Indigenous, Black, and People of Color communities.
From the excesses of world expositions to myths of better living through technology, modernist design, in its European-based guises, has excluded and oppressed the very people whose lands and lives it reshaped. Decolonizing Design first asks how modernist design has encompassed and advanced the harmful project of colonization—then shows how design might address these harms by recentering its theory and practice in global Indigenous cultures and histories.
A leading figure in the movement to decolonize design, Dori Tunstall uses hard-hitting real-life examples and case studies drawn from over fifteen years of working to transform institutions to better reflect the lived experiences of Indigenous, Black, and People of Color communities. Her book is at once enlightening, inspiring, and practical, interweaving her lived experiences with extensive research to show what decolonizing design means, how it heals, and how to practice it in our institutions today.
For leaders and practitioners in design institutions and communities, Tunstall's work demonstrates how we can transform the way we imagine and remake the world, replacing pain and repression with equity, inclusion, and diversity—in short, she shows us how to realize the infinite possibilities that decolonized design represents.
“Dori Tunstall is a trailblazer! Her book serves as a critical addition to the canon of design, exposing the lies and misinterpretations often hidden within modernist pedagogies.”
Kevin Bethune, author of Reimagining Design; founder of dreams • design + life
“A once-in-a-decade book. An inspiring, informative, and powerful blueprint that can enable any of us to engage with a topic of our time—decolonization.”
Rama Gheerawo, The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art; author of Creative Leadership: Born from Design
“Finally, a comprehensive, substantive, and practical book to inform decision-makers. I'll be referencing it regularly with both students and administrators.”
Mindy Magyar (Mi'kmaq, Sipekneꞌkatik First Nation), Associate Professor, College of Art and Design, Faculty Associate, Office of the Provost, Rochester Institute of Technology
"A crusader for equity in teaching design [who] finds a formula that works across borders and sectors, with critical importance for society as a whole."
“Tunstall gives step-by-step instructions for reducing bigotry's impact on the built environment”
The New York Times Book Review
“In Decolonizing Design Tunstall offers an on-the-ground look at the ways modernist design has colonized and oppressed Indigenous, Black, Asian, and Latinx communities, and offers practical and forward-looking ways of rethinking design. Tunstall is clear-eyed in her account of the difficulty of the work and the wounds it might open in the effort to heal and connect.”
The Boston Globe
"The design field has historically been dominated by a narrow Eurocentric set of perspectives. This has resulted in a string of harmful stereotypes, biases, and the culture-erasing homogenization of design. Here to dismantle these power structures is design anthropologist Dori Tunstall, who is also dean of design at OCAD University. In her book, Decolonizing Design, Tunstall explores how modernist design has perpetuated colonial thinking, and how design can help abolish it."