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Empowering, co-designing, scaling: A service design model for the sustainable future of textile artisans’ communities

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conference contribution
posted on 2016-04-13, 13:49 authored by Francesco Mazzarella, Carolina Escobar-Tello, Val MitchellVal Mitchell
The global economic and environmental crisis is creating momentum for designers to challenge the current “linear economy” based on a take-make-waste model, and explore strategies, services and systems inspired by new ethics of sustainability. Within this arena, textile artisanship is becoming an interesting opportunity for opening up resilient micro-enterprises, addressing the disruptive challenges posed by future trends (e.g. slow consumption, alternative economies, redistributed manufacturing, flexible production, circular economy, advanced artisanship, design entrepreneurship and enabling ecosystems). In particular, this research is focused on textile artisans’ communities, bottom-up and human-centred aggregations engaged in giving form and meaning to local natural fibres, by hands or by directly controlling mechanised and digital tools, and managing the process of making culturally and socially significant apparel. With this in mind, a theoretical framework has been developed, outlining barriers, enablers and a sustainable manifesto for textile artisans’ communities. Service design is here proposed as a key approach within this scenario, due to its user-centric, relational and systemic strength to co-create tangible and intangible value towards holistic sustainability. Using service design methods, participatory action research will be pursued to empower artisans’ communities, co-design collaborative services and scale up innovations within an enabling ecosystem. The overall aim of this research is to explore how service design can encourage textile artisans’ communities towards a sustainable future, providing social engagement, rescuing cultural heritage, boosting economic development and enhancing environmental stewardship.



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MAZZARELLA, F., ESCOBAR-TELLO, C. and MITCHELL, V., 2016. Empowering, co-designing, scaling: A service design model for the sustainable future of textile artisans’ communities. Presented at CSM Doctoral Colloquiuim, Loughborough University, UK, 28th Jan.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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