Learning from… (or “the need for queer pedagogies of space”)

Olivier Vallerand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite its emergence in architectural discussions in the early 1990s, more than 25 years later, the idea of queerness has yet to fully transform the way we practice, teach or even experience spatial design. While obviously focused on how gender and sexuality play a role in the building of personal and collective identifications, queer theory becomes much more interesting when used to think more broadly about how different elements intersect in our experience and use of space. Unfortunately, despite most of the thinking about the relation between queerness and architecture taking place in the academic world, its impact on architectural pedagogy has been quite limited and very few designers have learned from queer theory’s insights. This essay develops different innovative teaching methods through interviews with educators across the world and focuses on how interiors education can become a vessel for queer and feminist ideas to impact architecture and design education at large. These strategies include embracing failure and disruption, supporting students, and becoming engaged activist educators. They focus on bridging a gap between different groups, on helping designers to acknowledge the limits of their designs and to maximize the possibilities offered by their design decisions. Queering design means building relations, offering layered opportunities, multiplying possible experiences. Queering design pedagogy in turn means multiplying points of views, opening the discipline to not only other disciplines, but to the everyday, and thinking about how our experiences as human beings, impact and transform our designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-156
Number of pages17
JournalInteriors: Design, Architecture, Culture
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 4 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Design education
  • feminist pedagogy
  • gender
  • queer pedagogy
  • sexuality
  • student support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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