CFP Decolonising Spatial Theories

A conference at the intersection of design theory and social practice.


Department of Architecture and Planning, University of Melbourne

Dates: 5-7 Dec, 2023
Place: Virtual
Abstracts: 15 July, 2023 (Round 1) | 20 October, 2023 (Round 2)


The University of Melbourne 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. Waves of global exploration, colonisation and migration have been transforming local cultures in these regions since the 15th century. National settler policies 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.

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.

Published: 05/01/2023