Teaching Design in a Post-rainbow Nation: A South African Reflection on the Limits and Opportunities of Design Praxis

My first solo book chapter has been published. This was my first attempt at reflecting on my experience as both a teacher as well as a practitioner in Johannesburg and attempting to frame this through theory as both research and resource for others working in similar conditions.

Abstract

There has been an intense discourse on the relationship between inter-stakeholder university engagements, or service learning, and the broader society that South African universities claim to serve over the past decade in both local and international academia. The inherent problem within these power structures, the challenges to achieving mutually beneficial project outcomes and the growing concern of vulnerable, unheard institutional and individual voices are critical factors. The recognition of these dynamics within the emerging field of design research and design-led teaching is less nuanced in these debates. Training institutions of architecture have a rich history of undertaking service-learning initiatives to create value and learning for both the students and the stakeholders of such projects. Still, in South Africa, they are only now seen through a post-rainbow nation lens. The FeesMustFall movement is primarily driving this change. Larger institutions are recognising previously marginalised voices that now find traction in learning and practice across South Africa. This chapter reflects the author’s experience with emergent views and concerns as a researcher, lecturer and spatial design practitioner in Johannesburg. This section centres on learning regarding city-making in Southern Africa, and it presents two case studies followed by a discussion of growth opportunities.

Bennett, J. (2021). Teaching Design in a Post-Rainbow Nation A South African Reflection on the Limits and Opportunities of Design Praxis. In F. Giuseppe, A. Fisher, & L. Moretto (Eds.), African Cities Through Local Eyes. Experiments in Place-Based Planning and Design (1st ed., pp. 151–172). Springer: The Urban Book Series. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84906-1_8