London College of Fashion in conjunction with Victoria & Albert Museum presents:
Design Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa: Post-Western Perspectives
Design Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa: Post-Western Perspectives is a forum for pioneering technologists, curators and scholars from Accra, Nairobi, Cape Town, London and New York to discuss developments in digital design – robotics, gaming and computer imaging – on the African continent.
We tend to think about our world’s future as being discovered in the high-tech laboratories of American scientific research institutes, or debated in elite business and political forums held in the Alps – but less often in the West, do we think about our future as being designed by local tech communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In what is being called a transformative Digital Revolution, the African continent now hosts one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the world (the East African ‘Silicon Savannah’), a Pan-African robotics network (AFRON), burgeoning space programmes and a proliferation of digital innovation hubs.
The symposium analyses two major forces shaping the 21st century – innovations in digital technology and the ‘rise of Africa’ – through the lens of material culture and its interpretation. It also marks the official launch of an international network ‘Design Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa’ lead by Cher Potter, developed through a core partnership between London College of Fashion and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Some of the questions that will be examined are:
• What challenges and opportunities do a ‘digital revolution’ combined with unprecedented city and population growth on the African continent present for designers today?
• How is the combination of computer coding and digital fabrication resulting in new typologies of design in Sub-Saharan Africa?
• What composite communities are organising themselves around these new digital models?
• Are gaming environments based on local history and folklore heralding a wider move from European/US-centric worldviews to local ones?
• How might technology open up new ways for reading and categorising objects, both ancient and contemporary?
• How might we describe and test the term ‘postwestern’ in the context of design and curating?
Full list of speakers here