Conference article

Designing Convivial Food Systems in Everyday Life

Emily Ballantyne-Brodie
RMIT Design Hub, Australia

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Published in: ServDes2018. Service Design Proof of Concept, Proceedings of the ServDes.2018 Conference, 18-20 June, Milano, Italy

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 150:86, p. 1032-1048

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Published: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper explores living systems theory and how it can apply to designing convivial food systems in everyday life as an alternative to the dominant, industrial food system. There are three major threads in the paper; firstly, the literature review explores the industrial food system problem and the emerging food systems design field. The second thread of the paper is the ontological foundation of living systems theory that will be outlined describing a view of life that embraces ecological design and an eco-literate worldview. The paper will outline seven levels of living systems theory and how these different levels of living systems apply to the proposed praxis of designing convivial food systems. Thirdly convivial food systems praxis will be demonstrated through various experiments and prototyping exercises conducted in Victoria, Australia. The results of the study suggest how designers adopt convivial design techniques and living systems theory into their practice through the ‘convivial design culture’ approach.


convivial food systems, living systems theory, food design praxis, relational services, service design, conviviality, eco literacy, everyday designers


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