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ServDes.2020 conference seeks to explore the tensions and paradoxes of negotiating traditional knowledges, cultural practices, and relational obligations in the rapidly changing global landscape of COVID-19 and traumas of structured racism.

In an increasingly globalised world, the Asia-Pacific region offers a stage for negotiating systems and service complexity. This is a region where ‘design’ is positioned as a key driver for improving the living standards of many, and where its human and environmental capital is pivotal to economies all around the world. It is also a region of paradox and tension – of massive divisions of wealth between developed and emerging economies, where climate change is already displacing its peoples. Paradox and tension recognises ancient cultural practices and the effects of colonialisms still lived, alongside emerging globalised relations and new challenges.


We ask how might service design adapt its approaches to attend to such diversity? What can be learnt from the diversity of local practices and know-how of the region? How might we engage respectfully with Indigenous knowledges?  


How do collectivist societies see ‘services’ or ‘design’ as means of addressing the pressing concerns of their communities, and does the spectre of the designed service act as a lever to shift old modalities into the new?  


We invite participation from you – practitioners and researchers from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond – to share your insights and what you see as critical learnings for ‘service design’, ‘co-design’ or ‘social innovation’ in your areas of work by allowing plurality in these definitions.

ServDes.2020 will be hosted by the School of Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.


Nearing its 130th year RMIT is one of Australia’s original tertiary and technical institutions. It enjoys an international reputation for excellence in professional and vocational education, applied research, and engagement with the needs of industry and communities. 


RMIT is also a world leader in Art and Design; Architecture; Education; Engineering; Development; Computer Science and Information Systems; Business and Management; and Communication and Media Studies. It is ranked 1st in Australia and Southern Hemisphere and 11th in the world for Art and Design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019). It is also 1st in the world for SDG10 Reducing inequalities.

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. 


RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia and around the world where we conduct our business.