Holding it open: Building capacity for self-determined collaborative Service Design

Shana Agid
Parsons School of Design

Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani
Parsons School of Design

Ayesha Hoda
Parsons School of Design

John Kefalas
Parsons School of Design

Kerry MacNeil
Parsons School of Design

Randy Martinez
Parsons School of Design

Dilena Santos
Parsons School of Design

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Ingår i: ServDes.2020 Tensions, Paradoxes and Plurality Conference Proceedings, 2-5th February 2021, Melbourne, Australia

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 173:6, s. 58-58

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Publicerad: 2020-12-22

ISBN: 978-91-7929-779-4

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


Despite welcome explorations of difference in Service Design approaches in recent scholarship, the prevailing notion that the field is measured by tools, methods, and outcomes limits how SD might contribute to open- ended practices of self-determined design and capacity-making in socially and politically-grounded contexts. We draw on a two-year service design collaboration among three learning-communities with differently situated students to suggest means for “holding open” collaborative work in process as a way to both create space for collectivity and to grapple with difference, tension, and emergent conditions. This framework is a proposition for self-determined service design, rooted in the complex contexts of collaborators’ experiences and self-articulated desires. We argue for extending SD practitioners’ and researchers’ understandings of uncertainty (Alexander, 2006) and the unknown (Akama, Pink & Sumartojo, 2018) to consider these as approaches for engaging in plurality and emergence, rather than seeing them as conditions requiring mitigation to reach a specific end-goal.


self-determined design, learning-communities, incarceration, social justice, uncertainty


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