Lesley-Ann Noel, an innovator in design education, research and practice who is known for her work on “emancipatory design,” will be the speaker for the fourth annual Alberini Family Speaker Series in Design at UC Davis.
Presented by the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Design, Noel’s lecture, “Envisioning Pluriversal Design,” will be held online Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. PST. Advance registration is required for the free talk.
Noel is associate director for design thinking for social impact and a professor of practice at the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design at Tulane University. She focuses on developing design curriculum for intercultural audiences that challenges traditional norms and promotes the work of designers outside of Europe and North America whose views have often been overlooked. Her research, drawing on anthropology, education and business, is guided by an emancipatory philosophy aimed at correcting the power imbalance between some researchers and subjects who come from marginalized or oppressed groups.
In her talk, Noel will address the concept of “pluriversal” design. In pluriveralism, one method of understanding the world is not considered more valid than others, especially the largely dominant Eurocentric one. Pluriversality accepts many worlds, worldviews and epistemologies in which no particular worldview and description is placed in a position of privilege.
She is a founder of the international pluralistic design group for the Design Research Society that aims to “create a liberatory and radical space in the design research community to promote/create intercultural and pluralistic conversations about design.” The group recently held the first-ever pluriversal design conference. Prior to joining Tulane in 2020, Noel was a fellow and lecturer at Stanford University and part of the Ocean Design Teaching Fellowship that brought together experts in design, ocean science and international policy.
A former Fulbright Scholar, Noel earned a doctorate in design from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of the West Indies.
The Alberini Family Speaker Series, supported through an endowment by the Carlos and Andrea Alberini Family Foundation, brings renowned innovators and thinkers in design to campus to inspire students and encourage community engagement and learning.