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M.AD Insighter Series

Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at OCADU

Jan 12, 2022 - 04:00pm

Overview

Check out the full recording here: https://youtu.be/-ALR4KbhmFQ

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual, and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design. As Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University, she is the first black and black female dean of a faculty of design. She is a recognized leader in the decolonization of art and design education.

With a global career, Dori served as Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Dean at Swinburne University in Australia. She wrote the biweekly column Un-Design for The Conversation Australia. In the U.S., she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She organized the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and served as a director of Design for Democracy. Industry positions included UX strategists for Sapient Corporation and Arc Worldwide. Dori holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and a BA in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.

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Check out the full recording here: https://youtu.be/-ALR4KbhmFQ

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual, and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design. As Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University, she is the first black and black female dean of a faculty of design. She is a recognized leader in the decolonization of art and design education.

With a global career, Dori served as Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Dean at Swinburne University in Australia. She wrote the biweekly column Un-Design for The Conversation Australia. In the U.S., she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She organized the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and served as a director of Design for Democracy. Industry positions included UX strategists for Sapient Corporation and Arc Worldwide. Dori holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and a BA in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.

FULL TRANSCRIPT BEGINS HERE:

Dori Tunstall:

Morning, evening, afternoon, depending on where you all are because I've heard you're from all over the place. So let me begin with a land acknowledgement. So I acknowledge the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinabe, and the Huron-Wendat, who are its original owners and custodians upon the lands in which I am gathered. And I live here in Tkaronto in the province of Ontario here in Canada. Doing a land acknowledgement is a really important part of OCAD University's commitment to decolonization, which I will talk to you more about. Just for reference OCAD university is the oldest and largest art and design institution in Canada. And it's the third-largest art and design institution in North America.

Dori Tunstall:

Again, as [Hank 00:01:01] wonderfully introduced, I'm the first black, a black female dean of faculty design anywhere. I'm a design anthropologist. So again, look at culture and design. I'm African-American by heritage. So you may not be able, but I've traveled many places, so my accent's a little messed up, but I'm generally African-American. And all of those things are kind of important because it influences the way in which I experience and look at design. So I'm going to talk to you about Decolonizing Design. I'm going to talk to you about some of the steps that we've been taking at OCAD University to change the way we think about and approach design, and to start I'm going to talk about Respectful Design. So at OCAD University, [in the faculty design 00:01:49], our ethos is called Respectful Design and it comes out of this understanding of being, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world that design, and it's a design city, it's like the third-largest sort of design center in North America as a city.

Dori Tunstall:

And so, as an anthropologist, I'm always interested in the relationship between the values that people have, the way they are sort of [may 00:02:16] manifest through design, and then whether or not people are actually experiencing those values. And so, one of the things that we've been looking at, have looked at is actually the way in which design itself has been quite disrespectful to certain communities and particularly black indigenous and people of color, communities, and the land in and of itself. So when we talk about sustainability, we're talking about the fact that design has been disrespectful to the land, but these are all kind of related together. And so a lot of what I'm going to walk you through is some of the harms that design has done, but then I'm going to talk to you about how we can make amends for those harm and the work that the students are doing at OCAD University with their faculty to be able to address the way in which design can be respectful instead of disrespectful.

Dori Tunstall:

And again, the driver for all of this is that many of my black indigenous and POC students feel like they must choose between their beautiful, diverse, and nuanced identities and being a professional designer. And the reason why they have that sort of thing is that the values of design have been [and are 00:03:34], but is changing, right. Colonial, and I'll talk about how that works out. White supremacist, patriarchal, and capitalists. And these are some of the values that have been quite harmful to many communities, again, not just in North America, but also globally.

Dori Tunstall:

So now I'm going to just set some terms that help us with our discussion. So one of the things to kind of understand around like how design has been harmful is that it's been in a particular context and then particularly the context of a settler-colonial state. So both Canada and the United States and other places I've lived like Australia, these are settler-colonial states. And what that means is that there's kind of three, historically and contemporarily, three major positionalities in that state. There are the indigenous people who are, again, the original custodians of the land. There have been settlers who have come to lands that have not been their indigenous land in many ways to build a better life. And then they've set up systems of enslavement of, in the context of Canada and the United States, indigenous people were enslaved, but mostly it's been people from Africa who were enslaved and brought over into the settler-colonial state basically to take advantage of their labor.

Dori Tunstall:

What's important to understand in terms of the relationship to the land in the settler-colonial state is that the land has been stolen and pillaged. And the other thing to understand is that policies have been put in place to facilitate assimilation. And that assimilation has [ultimate 00:05:27] genocide against people who are non-Europeans. And this kind of comes out of like a wonderful essay. If you haven't seen it, called decolonization is not a metaphor by Eve Tuck and [W.K. Yang 00:05:40]. So if you haven't checked that out, do check that out, because it sets out some of the things. So design is implicated in the settler-colonial state. There's a way in which sometimes we think about design quite innocently or without a level of sort of criticality, but in order to sort of decolonize we have to look at things kind of critically.

Dori Tunstall:

So again, indigenous peoples, their relationship to the land is that they are the original custodians of the land and then their relationship to assimilationist policies that they have had to actively fight against assimilation for over 500 years. And the way in which this has kind of manifests itself critically right now here in Canada is that many unburied bodies of kids, youth, indigenous children have been found on the grounds of what were residential schools that were established to basically enact a cultural genocide against indigenous people. So separate them from their communities, their language, their culture in order to force them into assimilation, into sort of white culture. And so, these exist in the United States. And actually, the model for the residential school is actually found at Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. But right now, again, that they're uncovering, so far they've been discovered just here in North America the bodies of over 7,000 kids who were forced to assimilate.

Dori Tunstall:

And then again, died in that process of assimilation through this. So how does this relate to design. So in design, one of the common challenges that we face is issues of appropriation and misappropriation and particularly the misappropriation of indigenous motif. So the example in the image here is in 2015, the British fashion label, KTZ stole the sacred designs by a Canadian Inuit Shamaon named Aua. And again, why does this keep happening like every week, every month it feels like there's a controversy around the misappropriation of indigenous [teeth 00:08:06] and why this keeps happening is related to the attitudes of a settler-colonial state, because that sense of entitlement that I can take the sacred motifs is based on the underlying notion that, again, there's no indigenous people, there's no indigenous people, community to whom I need to be in consultation with or negotiation with in relationship to using the aspects of it, in many cases, their sacred indigenous culture.

Dori Tunstall:

And so it's a part of a long, long line of taking away the land from indigenous people, separating them for their language, separating them for their culture, which again, indigenous people have fought for over 500 years, but the attitude of entitlement that allows this kind of appropriation and misappropriation to continue to happen is that underlying attitude that there are no indigenous people here for me to negotiate with. And so understandably in the context of when we are trying to teach my indigenous students design, and there's a new controversy around anthropology, stealing a motif from a Navajo community or someone taking a sacred design from the Anishinabe people that these kinds of debates then make design feel like a feel that is not safe to the indigenous. And so there's work that needs to be done in terms of understanding, again, the way in which design participates in the harm of indigenous people so that we can make a [move 00:09:45].

Dori Tunstall:

The example next is of sort of the black community. So again, generally in relationship that they were historically brought involuntarily to the land to work as enslaved laborers and because of the structures of white supremacy that they're unassimilatable in terms of the settler-colonial state. And one of the things that I discovered just a few years ago is like white supremacy has a date and time. It happened in Maryland and Virginia in 1681, in which anti-miscegenation laws were established to basically take the rights of [inaudible 00:10:33] blacks, enslaved blacks, free blacks, native people, anyone who is not white and Christian and basically downgrade their rights so that they couldn't vote, that they couldn't marry with one another, that they couldn't appear in a court of law against a sort of white Christian male.

Dori Tunstall:

And so white supremacy established at that time that the opposite identity to whiteness was blackness. And again, design participates in this process. So one of the things I always talk about, especially in our industrial design classes is the cotton gin. So the cotton gin was a device that was created by Eli Whitney in like, I think 1794. And what it did, it removed the fibers and the seed, it separated the fibers and the seed from cotton so that you could use it for textile mills. So again, Eli Whitney graduated from Yale, he had to pay his debts, started working on a plantation in the south, noticed the challenge of that, developed this device, tried to patent it. And again, with the sole intent of efficiency as a value and with the sole intent to make money. And the direct implication of that is that at the time in which this was sort of developed, slavery was actually beginning to wane in the United States because it was becoming more and more expensive.

Dori Tunstall:

And so at the time, there was probably like 750,000 slaves. By the time because of the cotton gin and the "efficiencies" that it gained in which an enslaved person, instead of taking an entire day to separate the fibers and the seeds, it could be done in one hour. Then more farmland was bought because now is more efficient and more profitable to grow cotton. So more land was expropriated from indigenous peoples and then more slaves were imported. So that by the time you get to 1850, there's like 3.2 million enslaved Africans in the United States. And this is by design like Eli Whitney knew to this was going to happen when he invented the cotton gin, it was his intention. And so again, how do you have a conversation about design and how design is for good when, again, in the context of your communities like design has done some really harmful things.

Dori Tunstall:

And then in terms of again, POC and people of color in this context, again, it's not the most nuanced terms, but it helps to show kind of solidarity that exists in terms of the histories of immigration of those who of Asian heritage, so South Asian heritage, East Asian heritage, Southeast Asian heritage, of Latinx, of Middle Eastern, of anyone who's sort of a non-black, non-indigenous, and non-European to talk about the fact that in many cases, what is similar between these groups is that they've had to escape their homes to become new settlers on the land. And depending on their education, their skin color, their sort of family networks that in terms of assimilation, they've actually made some, sometimes make difficult choices and have the privilege of choice, to choose, to assimilate, to become part of the mainstream. But again, that doesn't save them from discrimination or, again, from the harms of design.

Dori Tunstall:

So again, this is an advertisement for Magic Washer Powder, and it's basically celebrating the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which forbid Chinese people from coming over to the United States, imposed sort of a head tax, all of these sort of things set structural discrimination in place for those who were here and you have, again, an advertising brand celebrating that, endorsing that. And again, you have been the conversation of like, how has design done harm in terms of the stereotypes that is [perpetrated 00:15:28] against different people in terms of, again, in the way in which it's reinforced policies that have been harmful to specific communities.

Dori Tunstall:

Now that I've talked about this, the thing to understand is that decolonization is about indigenous land sovereignty, but for us in design, it requires that we liberate design from what we've termed the modernist project. And basically, it has two parts of it. And this kind of comes out of discourse about design and technology in the 1800s from Europe that talks about progress through technology by bringing luxury to the masses and then dropping this notion of your national and ethnic baggage to join universal design. And in the context of Europe in the 1800s, this is revolutionary, right. That the idea of the peasantry, right, that the laborers who were working in the mines and things in the 1800s of being able to have better things, to live in better houses, to have better food, to have better things through technology, enabling things to produce [inaudible 00:16:45] faster and cheaper, quite revolutionary.

Dori Tunstall:

In the context of Europe, that's constantly have been at war. They're still at war. They've just had economic war, right. But there's still out war for thousands and thousands of years, the idea of let's say, drop your German, drop your Italian, and become part of universal mankind. So there was a gender notion with that, again, quite revolutionary, and to the fact that certain design centers like the [Bauhaus 00:17:15] endorsed this kind of understanding that they were kicked out of Europe and came to places like the United States to bring these revolutionary ideas. But in the context of colonization, this modernist design project becomes colonization 2.0, because, in order to get things faster and cheaper in the context of colonization, it's cheap because you've taken indigenous land. It is faster because you're taking the excess labor of those communities that have been enslaved. It is the idea of giving up your ethnic baggage becomes cultural genocide, right.

Dori Tunstall:

Cultural genocide, where again, the histories of making of other communities becomes erased because it's not fitting within this narrow notion of modernist design. And again, as an art and design institution in Canada, that's almost as old as Canada, OCAD University has done harm. So these are some of the posters from the Canadian National Railway that was developed by Franklin Carlmichael, who's one of the Group of Seven painters and was a student and as well as an instructor at Ontario College of Art, which is what we were before we added design. And so again, these posters are, the Group of Seven Painters really put OCAD University and Canada on the map. But the images that they're perpetuating are those, again, of colonization, the message of Canadian National Railway is Europeans leave Europe and come to Canada where you can build your beautiful life, basically still on the land of indigenous people who are being erased, right, who are undergoing processes of assimilation, as well as decimation through conflict, war, and disease.

Dori Tunstall:

So we've had to take this [inaudible 00:19:31] and I hope you're not feeling too depressed about design because now this is the part where we tell the story of how we begin to make amends. So at OCAD University, we've taken all this into account, right. We teach about this, we talk about this, we have a conversation and we've done a lot of work to make amends to address the way in which design has been harmful and make it something that is an act of healing, both individually, as well as community. So one of the first things we've done is put indigenous demands first. So these are just some of the images from our first indigenous cluster hire that was concluded in 2018 as part of our academic plan, the first principle of that plan was decolonization. And in this process, we've walked to and tried to understand what decolonization meant to us as a community.

Dori Tunstall:

What is it meant to our indigenous students and faculty. We've brought in indigenous faculty, so in the faculty of design, we've gone from in the last five years, having zero indigenous faculty to having seven indigenous faculty members. And this is changing our way, we think about design. So there's a picture here of like a Buffalo and the Buffalo is tied to, in terms of like indigenous ways of knowing, and particularly the Anishinabe Seven Grandfather Teachings with the teaching of respect. And one of my faculty [members 00:21:05] Howard Munroe who's of [Metis 00:21:06], one of the indigenous groups of Canada, he's redefined the design process to be aligned with the Seven Grandfather Teachings. And so he's aligned the respect teaching with our analyze and research phase because analysis and research is about understanding where you're positioned, what it is that you know, but having respect for the knowledge of others who may know more about a particular topic than you do.

Dori Tunstall:

So that's just one of the, and again, this manifests itself in our project. So this is an image of Sugandha Gaur, Dr. Sugandha Gaur, who's one of my faculty in the advertising program. And one of the projects that she assigned to her students is called the Next Buzzword. And so the students have picked out a cause or a trend. They select a brand to support it, do some research, including a [SWOT 00:22:06] analysis, and then develop up a design that is related upon this. And in the course, we bring in our indigenous colleagues to talk about, again, how does this fit with the colonial project that we're doing? And so, one of the teams worked with the organization called the Peace Collective, which works again by trying to embed more indigenous language and understanding within Canada and particularly within Toronto.

Dori Tunstall:

And so, in that they develop these posters that talk about sort of things that are common in the city of Toronto, but the fact that they have indigenous names. So Toronto is actually Tkaronto in the Mohawk language that Mishkodae, which is one of the parks is actually from Mississaugas of the Credit one of the Ojibwe language group speakers. I actually live off of the street called Spidina, but it's Ishpadiina, which is from the Anishinabe one of the language groups. And so they developed this poster set. They developed a website, all of which again is trying to put indigenous first. And in terms of our understanding of what design is and what it can do with, and for communities. Second thing we had to do was own up to our own institution's racism of white supremacy. So there was a presidential task force on under-representation that allowed us to understand how lack of diversity that existed within the institution, but we had to have conversations.

Dori Tunstall:

So we had workshops around whiteness without white supremacy, because at that time still, 80% of my faculty were white. So understanding where whiteness fits in this process of transformation, what white supremacy is, was an important part for us to be able to rethink our identities and the bases of design that we use from our identities. And so, we talked a lot about white supremacy culture, and what are the values of the organization and the institution and how we bring those forward in design. We had established authentic relationships with BIPOC communities. So this is, of course, pre-COVID, but this is me as the Dean of Design being everywhere that the black community wanted or needed me to be to support their initiatives. And so when I arrived, I spent two years going to First Fridays, which is a networking group. We established things to support black community like Black Reach design workshops for 8 to 12-year-olds.

Dori Tunstall:

One of the projects that we've done most recently is the Solid Black Collective, which is made up of four of our black faculty in design. Established work with black youth to develop Vaccin8 for the culture program to promote COVID vaccine and how, again, by getting vaccinated, you contribute to black lives. And so built a community partnership with the Jamaican Canadian Association and the Black Physicians Association. And so in the image, three of the members of the Solid Black Collective are there. So at the bottom of the first row is Angela Bains, the top row in the second column is Kathy Moscou. And then here in the third row is Kestin Cornwall. And then here small in the corner is the fourth one is Michael Lee Poy. And so these are the new faculty members that we brought into our first black cluster hire at OCAD University.

Dori Tunstall:

And again, they set up marketing workshops with, again, working through Zoom with community. And then, all these posters were created by the youth in their own language, using the visuals that they wanted to connect with community. And then, the campaign was in June to September, there was lots websites and Instagram impressions. [It was 00:26:31] four weeks that it was on advertising at the Toronto Transit Corporation. So again, just how do we use design to make amends to the harms that have been done through community.

Dori Tunstall:

And another example of this is the design with project that's run by [Ronnie Lee 00:26:48]. So she is of Chinese heritage but grew up in the Philippines. And so she does a lot of participatory, from multiple years she's been doing this participatory design project in Regent Park, which is one of our most diverse communities in Toronto. In which she's partnered with the Regent Park Sewing Circle, which is made of newly immigrant women. And so the students come together and learn, pre-COVID learned on, their classroom was at Regent Park at the center. And then they work on designs that are based with the community. And then the women of the sewing circle then develop and manufacture those designs by again, collaborating with the students around what, again, things that could be for Regent Park that's of Regent Park for Regent Park and by the women of Regent Park, who again, sell these, sell the designs and their manufacturing of them into the Regent Park community.

Dori Tunstall:

And then in terms of like we're hiring, we've made our calls about by BIPOC community interest, not just our own. So when we did the black cluster hire, we were like, we want someone who does black speculative futures. We want someone who does multisensory storytelling on black representation. We want someone who's in black hip hop or other black cultural aesthetics. And that's sort of shifted our, the practice is not just at OCAD University, but actually other universities throughout North America. So now there's many indigenous black cluster hires that are held and they use that same language of like, how do I speak the language of the community that I'm trying to embrace? And again, we did it with our most recent indigenous cluster hire as well, where we selected like we didn't talk about sustainability, but we talked about water and land protection because that's the way in which the community speaks about those processes.

Dori Tunstall:

And we changed our qualifications. So generally we always look for a traditional academic that [assumes 00:29:05] that people have been fully embedded in post-secondary institutions, which means we've never really addressed systemic exclusion. So now when we look for our top candidates, we look for top candidates who might be a traditional academic as a persona type or a practice star, where again, they may not have had to post-secondary institutions, but through design media workshops that they've given, through the promotion of the projects and things that they've done, through talks and publications or whatever. They're doing all the things that we look for the traditional academic, but they're doing it in a context in which they've been excluded from post-secondary, and so they've shined in a different way. And a community connector is another group that again, might be doing the work through community program, youth program or adult education, or have a religious education role, doing the kind of things that we look for in design, but outside of that industry design context or outside of that academic design context.

Dori Tunstall:

And then we've been hiring for critical mass. So again, these are the top is the faculty, the black faculty at OCAD University as of June 3, 2020. There's actually more than that now. And then the bottom is the indigenous faculty just within the faculty of design that we've hired as of 2021. So just recently. And so actually the person [inaudible 00:30:39] here, who's in the blue shirt [with me 00:30:42], he just actually arrived yesterday from Hawaii to begin teaching. So the way in which we've addressed things, we put indigenous demands first. We've addressed our racism. We've established authentic relationship with BIPOC communities. When we call for people, we call based on the communities interests. We've changed our standards to take in account systemic exclusion, and we're aiming for critical mass so that every student feels like they can, again, draw from their cultural heritage background and have faculty members who can represent and support the work they want to do based on that heritage. So that is it in terms of the formal presentation. I hope I left you enough time for lots of questions.

Speaker 2:

You did. Steph, are the microphones.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. We're ready to roll anytime. Anybody has a question, just go ahead and unmute yourself.

Speaker 4:

I actually had, so I've never heard of the Seven Grandfather Principles, I think is what you called it earlier.

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Speaker 4:

Is this something I can Google or I'm Just like [inaudible 00:32:03] what that mean?

Dori Tunstall:

Yeah. It's the Seven Grandfather Teachings, is what it's called. I can tell you what they are, they are humility, bravery, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect, and love. But again, it's a thing where if you Google it, there's lots of different resources that will show up. They're very regional specific. So it's a thing where you're like, wherever you're at, there may be a regional version of that. So do search around a little bit, but again, those are the things that we are embedding, again, understanding design, just not as an output, but design as an internal cultivation of the kind of person you want to be in the world, right.

Speaker 4:

Okay, cool. Thank you.

Dori Tunstall:

Welcome.

Speaker 5:

I have kind of a question and something that I've been thinking a lot, just from a strategy perspective. So in the world right now, a lot of people in technology myself included are able to work remotely and I've definitely seen and been served up a lot of ads from different islands and countries that are trying to attract that type of tech talent because you think from an economic perspective, that's like new capital that can move into the country. However, there's also the potential cultural clashes that could happen. And I'm looking at these six steps and I think definitely number one, like putting indigenous demands first, but say for example, like as a strategist, if I were to go to the city of Mexico City and say like, I would like to put a proposal together to attract tech workers to Mexico City who can work remotely. What things do you think that I would need to keep in mind in order to make sure I'm not just bringing like droves of Americans and other North Americans to Mexico City that are potentially disrupting the environment that others are living in.

Dori Tunstall:

So within that, there a few things that I always think about in that sense, because again, I've like really global traveled. I've lived in different places and again, setting up infrastructure right in a lot of those places. So some of the things I always take into account is, again, indigenous first, building relationships with the local indigenous community. And that takes time and it's hard work because there's lots of mistrust. But if you do all the things to build that trust, then what you have is structures of accountability. So that if you are doing something harmful, they will call you out. I know that I've built good relationships here in Canada because I get called out for anything that I do that is potentially harmful. And for them to call me out, again, that's an act of love because it's saying, you're doing something that might hurt us and hurt our relationship.

Dori Tunstall:

So I'm going to tell you what it is and not just ignore you and run away and find some other way to, whatever. I'm going to tell you what it is because I want to stay in relationship with you, right. So I always try to establish that. So when I moved to Australia, right, one of the things I did is make sure I stayed grounded with the indigenous community there so that they could call me out if I'm doing something harmful. And then the rest of it is that once you have like, again, local, I would say local accountability partners, then it becomes easier, right. Because it's like, if salaries that you're paying is disrupting the salary scale, then they will call you out on that, right. If you're importing too many people who are not sharing the right values or you're not helping the local people to level up to the skills that, again, that they're wanting to develop, then they'll call you out on that.

Dori Tunstall:

So again, it's a hard process to do that because there's lots of reasons for mistrust. But once you establish those relationships, those authentic relationships, then you don't have to worry about knowing what to do because you're in relationship with people who will tell you what you need to do. And then you just need to be humble and listen, right. Just develop humility to listen to that. And again, when you're in good people, you can have the conversation and debate, but when it comes down to acting, then you act in accord to what's going to strengthen that relationship, right.

Speaker 5:

Thank you so much.

Dori Tunstall:

You're welcome.

Speaker 6:

Well, Dr. Dori.

Dori Tunstall:

Hi.

Speaker 6:

Hi. My question is about being the only person of color in the room. So I had an experience where the idea that was on the table was a really good idea, but no one else was recognizing that the effects it could have on the people in the community, this was like for outdoor advertising.

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Speaker 6:

So I brought up this idea and I felt like I could see the faces of the people on the Zoom. Like this is the first time they even considered that "oh yeah, those people would be affected by us placing this out of home here." I was just wondering what to do in that kind of situation. How to help people understand that they have to consider more than just like their target audience for their campaign? And what kind of language or what resources I could use in those instances?

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative). So depending on the situation, let's say there's very different strategies that I've used. So like, it might be a thing where let's say in one, depending on like, again, what's going on, like there may be a scenario where like, I would raise something and just for whatever reason, people can't hear me. So in that situation, what I normally do is I find allies, right. So I always say like, I try to find, like again, this is changing. So I want to say this is changing, but I say, I try to find like a white male as an ally and a white female as an ally or amplify, like if there's other racialized people there, let's all [inaudible 00:38:50] together so that the idea can be heard, right. And again, [It 00:38:57] takes a lot of humility, right, to do that. But again, this is the part where it's like, I need to swallow my ego because what I need is for that message to be heard, so that that change can happen, right.

Dori Tunstall:

So if it means that it's not me, I just need to hold space for that, because this is more important than my ego at the moment, right. So that's one strategy that I use. Again, when I might be the only black one, but I'm not the only, only one, there's one of my colleagues, [Ryan Rice 00:39:33], who was indigenous. And we made a pack with each other kind of where it says like, you know what, in the room, I'll bring up as a black person, all the indigenous issues than you as like the indigenous person, the black issues. Cause we are going to like, if I say it or you say it or whatever, whatever, they'll listen, but they won't listen, listen.

Dori Tunstall:

So then we can reify each other's positionality in such a way that, again, they kind of have to listen. First of all, they'll be shocked to hear me say something that's about indigenous people and not black people. So they'll be paying attention to that. But then you can echo in and we change the sort of [inaudible 00:40:08] discussion, so that's a strategy that's used. And then the last part, I mean the last strategy is that over time I build up trust within my organization. And again, I come with powers, so there is an aspect there, but I'm saying, but a lot of that comes with trust where, and again, my therapist and I had a long conversation where she's like, Dori, you have to show them because we talk about leadership as like, you should be stoic.

Dori Tunstall:

And I was trying to cultivate that and she like, no, no, no, you need to show them what's going on in your face. You need to show them what you're feeling because they're looking for you to understand whether something they said is actually harmful, right. So we're at the point in our community now where nobody wants to do harm, right. We are like, no harm, do no harm. So if I make a face or I raise an eyebrow, or I even say something that says, this is going to be harmful, then we are not a point now of trust where they can hear that. And it shifts the decision, it shifts the decision [making 00:41:20]. The beautiful thing that's happening now is that we've become so sensitized as a community that I don't have to even say anything, someone else will say, this seems whacked.

Dori Tunstall:

And then, I just get to echo it. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, right, and then the decision changes. So there's many different strategies that I've had to use depending on like level power I have, [whether 00:41:45] level trust that I have, my ability to build allyship. But if you are in a place where you can't build allyship, if you're in a place where that trust isn't there. And again, the trust has to be earned and it's mutual. But I was like, that's normally an indication that that's not in a place you should be, right. That's not in a place that you should be. And so, save yourself and disengage if you can, if you can.

Speaker 6:

Thank you. Those were really thoughtful and creative strategies.

Speaker 7:

Hi, Dr. Dori.

Dori Tunstall:

Hi.

Speaker 7:

I have a question in the chat that I want to ask you.

Dori Tunstall:

Sure.

Speaker 7:

It states there are many minority communities with extremely talented designing skills across the globe. What future effort do you see schools making to bridge those connections and bring them the tools they need?

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative). Uh-huh (affirmative). Interesting because I was like one of the conversations I was having with an institution this morning. So again, this becomes a thing where you had to be really careful because you don't want to be like have a savior complex, right. And things are sophisticated enough that you just don't talk about white saviors. It's like no, any savior complex, right. So let's say if you've listened to the community and they've said, this is what we want and need and you're providing these kinds of things, there are lots of projects and programs that are doing that kind of work and they have been for a while. So I think that that aspect isn't new. The thing that's new is the awareness of it. The thing that's new is, like again, I did my fieldwork in Ethiopia. Because there's been a lot of Ethiopians in the diaspora, like they've all gone, well, not so much now because of the conflict, but they went home and built their tech hubs in Addis Ababa and all these different places.

Dori Tunstall:

So there's that aspect of like, I always try to say, whenever I'm engaging with a community or anyone is like, my job is never to do something that could already be done locally. My value has to be additive in some ways that I'm providing some resources or some access that is not available locally. And the local people want me to make them available, right, make available. And so whatever enterprise, project, or things that you have, I've always designed them around filling in some gap that is needed and desired by the local community and then doing it that way. So that means, at OCAD we had these study abroad projects that a faculty member had done in India and all these different places. And through this process of transformation, they were like, I have to stop doing projects in India.

Dori Tunstall:

Cause there's no way. I don't have the partnerships. I don't have a thing to not do them in a colonial way. So they actually did the research to figure out like, okay, there's some organizations that are working outside of Peru. There's some organizations that are working side of these other places that actually are in line with more of these decolonial practices that we are wanting to put in place. And so we switched in some ways like our relationships and our providers of those kinds of study abroad experiences because we took serious that, like we are wanting to build relationships over long term. So we don't want a project where it's like, you come in for three to six weeks and you never see these people ever again like we don't want to set up those kinds of relationships. We don't want to bring in tools and materials of things that are already there locally.

Dori Tunstall:

But at the same time, we want to be careful about what we do bring in, that we're not bringing in something that can't be sourced at least in the wider area, if they want that practice to continue, right. Because we don't want to be at a situation where they have to import everything in order it could happen, right. So these are a lot of the considerations that we have taken in relationship to kind of like how we engage globally. Because again, we are global citizens. We want to engage globally. An important part of education is about learning about different ways of thinking and being and having respect for that. But you have to do it in a way that is, again, respectful. And so we work very hard at trying to understand locally, what are the parameters of respect, but also self-respect for ourselves in the sense of not putting ourselves in a situation where, again, especially for us, for students, [well 00:46:57], students get hurt from the process of engagement as well? It is a little bit abstract, but I hope that was [inaudible 00:47:06].

Speaker 8:

Hi, Dori. First of all, thank you for your time. Really interesting the whole [fact 00:47:19] and really change the design aspect in the history side of it. Yeah, really inspiring, I have to say, but I want to know, in one time you had that spark of creating and changing design and [decolonizing 00:47:37] design. I really interesting how that emerged and create this effect domino and we are sitting here right now and you are giving us that beautiful insight about how we can [decolonize 00:47:53] just by designing [decolonize 00:47:55] the human per se.

Dori Tunstall:

I mean, the spark for me always comes from spaces of discomfort, right, like spaces of discomfort. So again, being in a design context and being like none of this relates to me, like what are you talking about? None of this relates to me, I don't, and finding discomfort and distress with that right. In the sense of like, okay, why am I not connecting to what is happening here [inaudible 00:48:31] because it's based on some assumption of someone else who isn't me. So okay, how do I respond to that? Well, okay, I can extract what is valuable out of this. So let's say, for example, we spend a lot of time, we have spent, this is changing, right. We spend a lot of time with the [Bauhaus 00:48:47] and design, right. And again, it's one of those things where it's like, but I'm not a European male in the turn of the century. I haven't suffered the trauma of World War I, these aesthetic motifs actually don't resonate with me in any way, shape, or form except for all of the propaganda that I get through Dwell magazine.

Dori Tunstall:

And so I go from that discomfort to say like, why am I not, why? And most of that discomfort is like, why can't I see myself in this? If design is this universal practice, why can't, I see myself in this. And then, I then understand why design has told this story of it being this particular way and I unpack that, but then I insert myself into it. I put myself into it like, and there's again, really beautiful work that's being done. I think of one of the students at OCAD last year did this project where, he's of Lebanese heritage, and Google, and particularly WhatsApp are really important tools in Lebanon of connection and connectivity, but there was nothing that was done in the Arabic script.

Dori Tunstall:

So he went, first of all, rebranded the Google brand and created, he had to create his own typeface that was like related to, that could work in Arabic and Latin script. So designed his own typeface, rebranded Google in Arabic because it wasn't, Google wasn't done in Arabic, and then created all these sort of typefaces and interfaces that would be useful to his Lebanese community and the diaspora, right. And so that's him coming from this like we have to use this all the time and this doesn't speak to me. Doesn't speak to my community and I'm going to make a project to make Google speak to my people, right. And has won all kinds of awards in doing that. And again, I presented the work actually to Google saying, you need to hire this student because he just solved a bunch of problems for you, right.

Dori Tunstall:

And so, all of it, that spark normally comes from that feeling of like, why doesn't this, why does this not resonate with me? Why do I feel uncomfortable? And that discomfort normally comes from like, again, why don't I see myself in this? And there's so many different ways to do it. Again, if you come from a working-class background, let's say, for example like that might be enough for you to feel that discomfort, right. If you come, if you have any kind of physical or cognitive differences, that might be enough for you to feel that difference. I mean, we pay a lot of attention to gender and race, but there are so many different points of differences that can be that spark of innovation, right. The innovation comes in making this design accountable to who you are and the other people that you love, right, who might be like you.

Speaker 8:

Awesome. Thank you. I also want to add, this is another question, giving that opportunity and really that mindset and looking for that spark that will bring you move forward, how you bring institutions and people of power, just trying to portray and really elevate that mindset and expand it in XYC location?

Dori Tunstall:

Yeah. So this is, student advocacy, all the things that I talked about, all these six steps that we take, none of that happened without student advocacy. Because again, if you're an art design institution or again, even if you're a commercial institution and you're trying to figure out like, how do I sell to the next generation? Again, there's your voice, your demand to say, I want a design education that's accountable to who I am. I want a product that is accountable to who I am. None of this transformation happens without that kind of advocacy.

Dori Tunstall:

And the work that, again, I've done as an administrator is make sure there's enough faculty that are there that when you say, I want to make this change that they're like, okay, let me help you level up and make this change, right. Most of the role of the administration is just getting the structures out of the way to allow the advocacy of what the students want to happen in the institution. So my thing is like, the thing that you can do, most of [you want this 00:54:05] change to happen is to advocate, advocate, advocate, advocate for this change.

Speaker 8:

Awesome. Thank you so much. I think you're-

Dori Tunstall:

You're welcome.

Speaker 9:

Hello.

Dori Tunstall:

Hi.

Speaker 9:

Hi. I have a question specifically about what you just mentioned right now and thank you so much for the talk. This is so interesting. So grateful [for your global 00:54:41] insight. Okay. So you just mentioned something about part of your role is to make sure that the team is providing enough resources to each other to make everyone level up, or I don't know if you said, everyone.

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Speaker 9:

But basically my question is, what do you do, what helps you, what is your approach when trying to facilitate that?

Dori Tunstall:

Yeah, I mean, so in terms of getting resources, some of that is, a lot of that is just helping the organization see where the priorities and the existing resources need to be, right. So because a lot of the decisions you make is like everyone has, again, all finances are finite, all resources are finite. So it's about what you decide are the priorities in terms of where you going to spend your resources. So as an institution, OCAD has said, we are going to spend our resources around diversity inclusion and decolonization, right. Again, OCAD, we are not a rich institution in any way, shape, or form, but of the limited resources we have, we've decided, right, as a community, this is where we want to focus our resources. The other thing that we do, again, is that then I go out and I get additional resources, like being able to talk about the work that students are doing like other people get excited.

Dori Tunstall:

And so in that excitement [inaudible 00:56:34] maybe not to you, but if I'm giving the conversation to, if I'm giving a presentation to Meta, formally known as Facebook, then I say, if you like what you've seen, then you can help us to continue to do this work by doing X, Y, and Z and providing these resources so that this work can continue. But again, that's my work as administration because resources and finances is always a barrier. So I'm either convincing internally that we should prioritize this.

Dori Tunstall:

This is where again, student advocacy works because the normal one most effective leverage is to say, and the students say this is where they want the priority to be as well, right. And then, [inaudible 00:57:24] again, of external resources, like I said, the normally what opens up the wallets is like, this is an amazing brilliant student who is doing this kind of work. Isn't this really exciting? Now in order to be able to do more than that, we need X amount of resources to happen. Please give us these resources to make this happen, right. So a lot of it is, again, as students being clear and working together to articulate what it is that you most want and need. And then as administrators, our job is to remove the barriers, prioritize things, get the additional resources to make that happen.

Speaker 9:

Thank you.

Dori Tunstall:

You're welcome.

Speaker 10:

I have a question. [crosstalk 00:58:15]. Oh sorry.

Speaker 11:

Okay.

Speaker 10:

You can go.

Speaker 11:

You sure?

Speaker 10:

Yeah.

Speaker 11:

Okay. Yes, I have a question. Thank you for being here, first and foremost. I was watching, it was a lecture with Dr. Cornell West and Steve McQueen and they were talking about Paul Robeson, right. And I've been heavily interested in Paul Robeson, who was famous from the thirties to the forties, and pretty much he was able to bridge the gap and cross the international waters and really connect with the Welsh, the Russians, the Chinese. So how can we-

Dori Tunstall:

As he was a socialist. [crosstalk 00:59:00]. He was a Marxist and a socialist. So he was connecting like what do we all have in common, the exploitation of our labor. So let's gather around that and change. So go ahead.

Speaker 11:

Exactly.

Dori Tunstall:

Right.

Speaker 11:

Well, besides the political part as designers and as artists, how can we encourage other people to see themselves and other people, right. So when the Welsh looked at Robeson, they didn't look at him as just like this tall six foot something black man or whatever with the deep voice and can sing really well. They looked at him as one of them. So I'm saying, how can artists and designers bridge that gap?

Dori Tunstall:

Well, I say the best way for them to do that is to remember that they are human first. You are human beings first, beautiful, and manifest in all of what humanness might mean in time. So you connect to people as human beings. Now what you bring as an artist and designer is, again, certain kinds of perspectives, certain abilities to be able to communicate and share how the world works or how you see it or how you might experience it. But you come in interaction with people as human beings and you connect around that. Again, I have traveled all around the world to the extent that at one point in time, I actually ran out of pages in my passport, right. And every place I go, what I just make sure that I'm doing is like, regardless of what people titles are or their jobs or all these other things, it's like, how do I connect with them as a human being?

Dori Tunstall:

And then, and it even like not even being human-centric about it, like how do I just connect in a sense of being other energy in the universe that is nourishing for me to be in connection with, so when you do that, everything else follows. And then again, the differences that you have, like your differences in height, the differences in color, differences in [race 01:01:12]. If you can sing, that's really good. All those differences then become part of sharing. It becomes the sharing and exchange of who you are and what excites you about being alive? What are the things that matter the most to you? And like I said, design and art are just kind of different lenses by which we sort of try to communicate that and try to understand that, but we're still doing it from the perspective of the human being, right.

Speaker 11:

Got it. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Dori Tunstall:

You're welcome.

Speaker 10:

My question is, there are so many minority communities and not enough people to help them grow.

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Speaker 10:

But there are people with the drive to help these communities grow. However, like you said, the finance section of it is always a barrier.

Dori Tunstall:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Speaker 10:

So what would be kind of like words of wisdom or of encouragement to help these people who want to help the minority communities like not give up and to keep going?

Dori Tunstall:

I mean, so I guess, I say the way I always try to do it is to just be present and be of use. So again, everyone has, I say, access to different resources and money is just one resource. And there's a way in which like, again, remember in most cases money is just a, it's an object of exchange for something else. There's lots of situations in which we do the work and there's no exchange of money, right. Because what people actually might need is like, say they may need, this is a situation in which people might need food. So I might cook or arrange for food to be sort of cooked in a community setting, like people bring what they have and whatever, whatever, right. Because you're providing that sense of community nourishment or it may be a situation where people just need a door opened, right. So I introduced them to someone else who, again, might have the resources that they need and I don't have. So I think part of it is understanding that when you're in relationship to people that everyone has something that they can give and share, right.

Dori Tunstall:

And then making the offer of that. For example, when community comes to me at OCAD, normally they're looking for three things, they're looking for students that we want to work with because they're so brilliant. And we want to work with their brilliance. Pre-COVID, they were looking for space because as a university, we give our space away pretty much for free. And sometimes they're looking for a door to be opened. So again, in my position, sometimes I, and I'm always shocked by it, is like I make a call and someone that seems who's inaccessible to a member of community, they pick up the phone because it's me and then I can then transfer that relationship to the person in the community. And then again, that opens up so many possibilities for them.

Dori Tunstall:

So the thing I guess to say the way I always try to approach it in a way I try to encourage it to, again, my students and community is that like, what we all have is possibilities. So to what extent are you creating the conditions for possibilities for other people? And a lot of that is not money. Money is just one aspect of that. What are the ways in which you are opening up possibilities for a community to move in the direction that they want to be able to move in and you'll be surprised, right. You'll be surprised by how many possibilities you can open up when you think about it as that, right.

Dori Tunstall:

I'm just opening up possibilities. I don't have to be rich. Don't have to be famous. I don't have to be whatever, whatever. I just need to be able to create the conditions that opens up possibilities for them. And the beautiful thing about possibilities is that, again, it avoids that savior complex, right, because they have to define that that possibility is something that they want to pursue, right. And the relationship that gets built is them pursuing that possibility through and with you, right.

Tyler:

Thank you so much for tuning in guys, my name is Tyler. I'm going to be one of the admissions advisors helping you guys to start your creative careers here with the Miami Ad School, with our four portfolio programs, art direction, copywriting, photography, and video and design, as well as our boot camps. We are well equipped to make you well equipped for the creative industry and my job is to help you transition smoothly from prospective to enrolled student, we have financial aid and scholarships available for all of our portfolio programs and our four US locations, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, and New York, as well as our international locations are ready for you guys to go ahead and enroll when you are ready. So feel free to go to our website, www.miamiadschool.com, hit apply now, start your application, and if you have any questions set up a call and we will be happy to help you.

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