Social Justice Inclusive Context

The rapid move to online learning provided a respite from the imminent closure of campuses, demonstrating new ways of communication, interaction, and collaboration. However, it soon transpired that “inclusive practice that considers an inclusive excellence” (Ramohai 2019, p. 3), and “fair and just distribution of all opportunities, benefits, privileges and burdens” (Madonsela 2020), was not evident in the online spaces. Access to data, connectivity, hardware and software, digital literacies, and suitable space to work, were not equal.

Drawing on Nancy Fraser’s (2007; 2009) Social Justice Framework that distinguishes between the redistribution of resources, and recognition of cultural difference, we propose eight inclusive practices:

Inclusive Practices within the Social Inclusive Context for a Radically Inclusive Studio:

Social Justice Inclusive Context: Eight Inclusive Practices

Auto-ethnographic conversations by authors during Covid, and architectural education online:

The Start of a Conversation About ‘Decolonizing the Curriculum’.
Join the conversation below in the Comments section at the bottom of the Post.

Reflections from graduate student researchers:

Madina Masimova (she/her)

Architecture, Interiors, and Lighting

Graduate student at the Parsons School of Design
Masters of Interior Design and Lighting
The New School, New York, New York

Madina’s reflection on the social justice context:

An important aspect of social justice context for me is an opportunity for self-determination and the destruction of bias. During my undergraduate experience, as a female I felt injustice through social preconceptions towards my learning and leadership abilities. My strivings towards studying abroad one day were attempted to be discouraged by my peers. However, seeing a great support from my family, made me aware of how significant it is to provide support in education. Studying abroad for a female in my country is a big leap: this context strives to bring social justice to education. Knowing and working with Michele Gorman brought me more empowerment as a female and allowed me to raise my voice. Her support has always encouraged me to be involved in more leadership roles and dreaming big.

Madina’s Recommendation:

As a female I felt how important it is to teach about gender equality and to include more diverse scholars, designers, and works into curriculums.

Madina’s questions:

Do you or your friends face injustice in the design studio?

If yes, in what context have you observed injustice? Are these situations repeating in patterns?

Ashima Yadav (she/her)

New Delhi, India

Interiors and Electrical Engineering



Graduate student at the Parsons School of Design

The New School, New York, New York

Ashima’s reflection on the social justice context:

The Indian education system is often based on a rigid structure of grades and assessments that determine the success of students, and measures this success through outdated metrics, ignoring individual potential and neglecting equal distribution of resources. Despite these limitations, the desire for education in India is so strong that most students attend school, with parents sacrificing much to provide their children with the best opportunities from these institutions.

Pandemic called for decolonization of the curriculum, and there is a movement towards creating academically inclusive environments with equal access and support for students and staff. In these spaces, the curriculum is designed to be relatable and accessible. The online learning environment can also offer the potential to challenge power imbalances, but the mandatory use of webcams may perpetuate them. To promote inclusivity, the authors suggest offering choice in learning modes and media, promoting universal access to education, and fostering open and safe communication.

Ashima’s recommendation on inclusive practices within the social justice context:

I feel that decolonizing curricula is a vital step toward understanding the distinct social demands of locations, catering to the challenges that a certain location has experienced as well as the those that it may face in the future. This, I feel, makes designers more aware of and sympathetic to our societal requirements.

Ashima’s question to the University of Cape Town design students within the social justice context:

What is your opinion on the use of webcams in online learning and how it may perpetuate power imbalances?

How can open and safe communication be fostered to promote inclusivity in the education system?

Download cards to facilitate a discussion in person:

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