Weaving the threads: Service innovation with textile artisan communities

Francesco Mazzarella
Loughborough Design School, UK

Val Mitchell
Loughborough Design School, UK

Andrew May
Loughborough Design School, UK

Carolina Escobar-Tello
Loughborough Design School, UK

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

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 150:57, s. 679-695

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Publicerad: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

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


This paper reports on a participatory case study conducted for a doctoral research project, investigating how service design can be used to activate textile artisan communities to transition towards a sustainable future. Using multiple service design and co-design methods, a meaningful intervention was activated within the context of a textile artisan community in Cape Town (South Africa). The service designer elicited tacit knowledge into compelling narratives and facilitated a process of making sense of sustainable futures. As a result, the artisans joined together as a community, with the common purpose of sharing information throughout the supply chain and making it accessible through a service platform. In conclusion, this paper discusses the diverse roles the service designer can play in order to activate meaningful social innovations with communities and outlines the limitations of this case study as well as recommendations for further research.


community-centred design, situated services, sustainable futures, social innovation, textile artisan community


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