Kaupapa Māori [visual communication] design Investigating ‘visual communication design by Māori, for Māori’, through practice, process and theory
Gardner, Tracey (2008) Kaupapa Māori [visual communication] design Investigating ‘visual communication design by Māori, for Māori’, through practice, process and theory. Masters thesis, University of Otago.
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This work examines the field of Māori graphic design, and more specifically, kaupapa Māori visual communication design and process. Initially this research was conceptualised through a health communication project, and was extended to include experiences from practising Māori designers and an examination of print material in order to highlight apparent differences in process and practice when design is undertaken from a kaupapa Māori perspective. The research topic was chosen as a response to kaupapa Māori initiatives and Māori renaissance strategies of the twenty first century. The research is presented from a kaupapa Māori perspective and uses a post-structuralist method of enquiry. A ‘by Māori, for Māori’ or kaupapa Māori cultural framework is considered as differing from the current design academy in New Zealand. In order to examine and identify Māori cultural frameworks within a design process, four practicing designers were interviewed. When analysed these interviews offered valuable insight into personal experiences, values, beliefs, practices and processes, which is not necessarily identified in the current literature reviewed. Throughout the thesis, a recurring underlying theme presented itself concerned with the interaction of two world-views, that is, design and Māori epistemologies. It is the synthesis of both world-views and the space where these two intersect and meet that the thesis is specifically interested in. The investigation of kaupapa Māori design is limited to visual communication design; however, the process and specifications documented in this thesis are presented as dynamic and complimentary to other areas of Māori design and creative fields. The thesis also engages with wider discourses and practices through the analysis of practising designers’ narratives, design examples and literature reviewed. Kaupapa Māori design processes link intrinsically and directly with existing cultural protocols held within te ao Māori. These methods and procedures have been re-articulated within design discourse due to a need for cultural understanding when handling and using Māori cultural referents and knowledge. The increased demand for Māori iconography within industries both locally and globally has also initiated recognition of the need for clearer guidelines necessary to maintain the integrity and intent of the visual forms. The powerful and symbolic nature of Māori objects and artwork has instigated an articulation of tino rangatiratanga in order to construct and specify culturally appropriate methods and uses of Indigenous taonga in design industry.
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