The Bartlett Faculty Climate Curriculum Working Group

Lo―TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

The Bartlett Faculty Climate Curriculum Working Group share Julia Watson's "Lo―TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism published" in 2022.

Selection of pages from Lo―TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism publication

Lo―TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism,” authored by Julia Watson and designed by W―E studio, challenges the prevailing mythology of technology that has long ignored indigenous wisdom and innovation. Watson, a designer, activist, and academic, draws on her interdisciplinary expertise to highlight the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in addressing contemporary environmental challenges.

The book critiques the Eurocentric ideology that has historically dismissed indigenous practices as primitive, emphasizing the need to integrate indigenous wisdom into modern design approaches. Through four chapters spanning Mountains, Forests, Deserts, and Wetlands, Watson explores diverse indigenous perspectives from 18 countries, showcasing millennia-old techniques for sustainable living in harmony with nature.

With a foreword by anthropologist Wade Davis, “Lo―TEK” presents a radical reimagining of human-nature relationships, advocating for designs that leverage biodiversity and soft systems rather than relying solely on hard infrastructures. The tactile reading experience, featuring copper highlights and a cardboard hardcover, mirrors the ethos of the book, which seeks to reveal hidden technological knowledge embedded in indigenous traditions.

Julia Watson’s work not only challenges conventional design paradigms but also offers practical insights for fostering sustainability and resilience in the face of global environmental crises.  


Front cover of Lo―TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism


This reference was recommended by the Bartlett Climate Curriculum Working Group.

The working group serves as a collaborative platform for staff, students, and professional services staff from the 13 institutes and departments within the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. Participation in the group is voluntary, with a focus on gathering recommendations for resources that explore the intersectional and multidisciplinary aspects of the climate emergency and social justice. Despite the global nature of the climate crisis, its social repercussions disproportionately affect marginalized communities, highlighting the urgent need for action. The list of recommended references is continuously expanding through collective efforts. Bartlett Alternative acknowledges and appreciates the Working Group’s ongoing dedication in promoting the sharing of diverse works and resources, by amplifying underrepresented voices, narratives, and agendas.


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