Francesco Mazzarella-

The Service Designer Making Sense of Sustainable Futures:

A Framework for Social Innovation and Sustainability within Textile Artisans’ Communities

In order to tackle complex sustainability challenges, top-down one-size-fits-all services and strategies do not always effectively address the needs of local communities. It is increasingly recognised that multi-disciplinary stakeholders need to draw on their local situated knowledge and cooperate towards achieving a social aim. With this in mind, and moving beyond the designer’s ‘parachuting’ into projects that do not grow or develop, this research explores how the service designer can contribute to the activation of meaningful routes for the transition of textile artisans’ communities towards sustainable futures. Within this context, this research adopts a participatory case study methodology, encompassing using multiple service design and co-design methods for in situ collection of qualitative data. The expected outcome of this PhD is a service design framework for bridging from theoretical visions of the future to meaningful actionable realities.

Francesco’s achievements throughout his 2nd Year of  his PhD

Conference Paper Publications

  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., and Mitchell, V. (2016). Moving Textile Artisans’ Communities towards a Sustainable Future – A Theoretical Framework. In: Lloyd, P., and Bohemia, R. (eds.). Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking. 27-30 June 2016, Brighton, UK: University of Brighton. Vol. 10, pp. 3961-3982.
  • Brass, C. and Mazzarella, F. (2015). Are we asking the right questions? Rethinking post-graduate design education towards sustainable visions for the future. In: Bingham, G. et al. (eds.). Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education – Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise. 3-4 September 2015, Loughborough, UK: Loughborough Design School.
  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C. and Mitchell, V. (2015). Service Ecosystem: Empowering Textile Artisans’ Communities Towards a Sustainable Future. In: Proceedings of Nordes 2015: Design Ecologies. 7-10 June 2015, Stockholm, Sweden: Konstfack University.

Conference Paper Presentations

  • Santamaria, L., Telalbasic, I., and Mazzarella, F. (2017). How Can Service Design Merge Top-Down and Bottom-Up Agendas towards Social Innovation? Service Innovation in Emerging Economies. Loughborough, UK: Loughborough University, 26th January 2017.
  • Mazzarella, F., Mitchell, V., Escobar-Tello, C. (2017). Crafting a Sustainable Future with Nottingham Lace Artisans. From Storytelling to Sensemaking: A Design Anthropology of Services in-between Past, Present and Future. Missing Persons: Contemporary Histories of Textile Knowledge, Skills, Technologies And Materials. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University, 17th January 2017.
  • Mazzarella, F., Mitchell, V., Escobar-Tello, C. (2016). How Can the Service Designer Activate Meaningful Routes towards a Sustainable Future? Disrupting Fashion Modes: Future Goals, Strategies and Practices. Bozen, Italy: Free University of Bozen, 16th December 2016.
  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., and Mitchell, V. (2016). Service Design/Sense-Making: Weaving the Threads of Cape Town Artisanal Fabric. MERGE ZA. London, UK: Tank, 19th September 2016.
  • 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. CSM Doctoral Colloquium. Loughborough, UK: Loughborough University, 28th January 2016.
  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., and Mitchell, V. (2015). Service Ecosystem: Weaving a Sustainable Future Within Textile Artisans’ Communities. PhD by Design: Researching Across Difference, London, UK: Goldsmiths University, 5th-6th November 2015.
  • Mazzarella, F. (2015). How Can Service Design Encourage Textile Artisans’ Communities Towards a Sustainable Future? Three-Minute Thesis Competition STAR 2015, Reading, UK: University of Reading, 8th October 2015.

Poster Presentations

  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., and Mitchell, V. (2015). Service Design for the Future of Textile Artisans’ Communities. (1st Prize). Design PhD Conference: DesRes. 1st April 2015, Loughborough, UK: Loughborough Design School.
  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., and Mitchell, V. (2015). How can Service Design Drive Textile Artisans’ Communities Towards a Sustainable Future? Goldsmiths Graduate Festival. 5th-15th May 2015, London, UK: Goldsmiths University.
  • Mazzarella, F., Escobar-Tello, C., and Mitchell, V. (2015). A Service Ecosystem Empowering Textile Artisans’ Communities Towards a Sustainable Future. Design PhD Conference: Better by Design. 2nd-3rd July 2015, Lancaster, UK: Goldsmiths University.


  • AHRC Design Star CDT’ Student Development Fund (SDF), value: £975, to cover accommodation costs while pursuing field research in Cape Town, South Africa.

 Certified Training

  • Brand of Territorial Systems. Biella, Italy: Poli.Design, 23rd – 31st October 2015 (awarded with € 1800 scholarship).

Teaching Experience

  • Teaching Design Thinking module led by Dr Vicky Lofthouse at Loughborough University in London (a.y. 2016/2017).
  • Tutoring Service Design for Social Innovation module led by Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello at Loughborough Design School (a.y. 2015/2016; 2014/2015).
  • Marking User Experience Design module led by Dr Val Mitchell (a.y. 2016/2017; 2015/2016; 2014/2015); and Design Week led by Dr Rhoda Trimingham (a.y. 2015/2016).
  • Guest Lecture The Service Designer Bridging from Textile Artisans’ Visions of the Future to Actionable Realities, at ESMOD, Berlin (via Skype) (12/12/2016).
  • Guest Lecture Introduction to Service Design: Frameworks, Basics, Processes & Frontiers, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (17/11/2016).
  • Guest Lecture Local. Social. Circular: Service Ecosystems for the Sustainable Future of Textile Artisans’ Communities. SustainRCA, Royal College of Art, London (01/03/2016).
  • Guest Lecture Design Threads: Stitching Together the Past, Present and Future of Design, Made in Italy, UK and Beyond. Loughborough College, Loughborough, UK (27/11/ 2015).

Public Engagement

  • (Exhibition) Mazzarella, F. (November/December 2016). Weaving the Threads of Cape Town Artisanal Fabric. In Convergence: Processes and Outcomes of Social Design Practice. Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.
  • (Exhibition) Mazzarella, F. and Rogers, G. (2016). Objects as Dialogue. In InDialogue 2016. New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 2nd December 2016.
  • (Workshop Facilitation) Challenging Sustainable Futures for Textile Artisans’ Communities. Service Experience Camp. Berlin, Germany: Kalkscheune, 14th November 2015.
  • (Workshop Participation) Lufbra Service Jam. Loughborough, UK: Loughborough University in London, 26th– 28th February 2016.
  • (Visual Communication and Exhibition Production) SustainRCA Show & Awards 2015: New Narratives. London, UK: Royal College of Art, 17th September – 2nd October 2015.

Follow these links if you want to find out more

Andrew McIlwraith+

Andrew McIlwraith

Andrew is blogging about his work at the V&A.

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez+


Making algorithms public: rendering visible the operations and politics of algorithmic systems through critical design.

Gionata Gatto+

The research investigates the role of Design in the communication, data visualization and public engagement on Life Sciences. Focusing on the scientific branch of Plant Neurobiology as the main case study, the research probes novel Designer/Scientist interaction paths involving the use of specifically designed plant-inspired experiments. Aim of the research is to finally identify which Design tools and methods could be appropriate and useful to the development of Life Science inspired Design projects.

David Brezina+

Title: Structural analysis of text typefaces for selected world scripts: a systematic approach to stylistic consistency in multilingual environments

Letterform conventions often constitute a structure defined through similarity or distinctiveness of individual letterforms or their parts. For example, Latin-script letters ‘b’ and ‘p’ are conventionally designed to look similar – ‘b’ has a bowl similar to ‘p’ on the right side, but they differ on the left side. These kind of relationships among the letters seem to be intrinsic to each script. Furthermore, parts which are intrinsically similar are usually treated consistently by designers, particularly in text typefaces.

The aim of the proposed thesis is to determine whether there is a single structure behind the stylistic treatment of the selected world scripts (Latin, Greek, and Devanagari). This does not seem to be the case as, for example, some of the standard letter-parts from one script may not be present in another script at all. On the other hand, there may be a structural overlap between some scripts which borrowed forms from each other or used similar writing tools through their historical development.

Furthermore, there is an anticipation that different type styles will produce different structures, i.e. a script will be perceived as a set of styles defined by these structures.

Helen McGilp+

Recording in the fashion design process

For my research, I am looking at methods adopted in the fashion design industry for recording, analysing and articulating the early stages of the design process. This builds on earlier work I have undertaken looking at recording the design process within an educational context on a design Masters Fashion programme.

Within Fashion, little is written or even spoken about the design process, with most publishing focusing on the final outcome.

As a driver for an industry that revolves around a constant cycle of change, it is perhaps surprising that Fashion Design does not have a culture of recording and evaluation to underpin future design development.

The design process in Fashion is a relative newcomer to academic publishing and, although this is an area addressed within other design fields such as architecture and product design, most coverage within Fashion is sparse and anecdotal.

I am looking to better understand and model the authentic design process within fashion. As part of this, I will be looking at the ways designers record and capture that process, and how they might use those recordings to enhance areas such as creativity, idea generation, re-use of design elements and process efficiency.

Copyright © 2015 Design Star