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RCA Service Design presents:

The Service Design program features the work of the 2021 cohort and reflects their experiences from the unprecedented backdrop of the last 18 months. Inspired by the recent past, but looking towards a hopeful future, our line up of speakers and students will share their knowledge and expertise in a week of learning, exploration and provocation.
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After a year almost entirely lived in a virtual environment, finding new ways to engage meaningfully in the online sphere is an increasing challenge. It is one that this cohort of students have lived up to tremendously and which culminates in this, the RCA Final Show. For these students, this is the next step in what has been a journey of innovation, development and exploration and we look forward to sharing that with you and beginning to build the next chapter.

This year's show is titled Facing Forward.
The students work is spread across seven themes and throughout our busy and thought provoking event programme we will hear a manifesto for each one with highlights from the students' work and a chance to speak to them directly. These are exciting ideas for our future, come and join the graduates of 2021 in a celebration of Facing Forward.
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Building Resilience

Progress is a human instinct and inherent desire. Yet we reached a point where even our most mundane objects are reinvented almost daily and science fiction movies promote more apocalypses than utopias. To not only master but strive within a frequently changing world we need to build resilience. For Service Design this means to share our creativity and optimism. So even in times of trauma we can collectively imagine an alternative reality to jump off to.

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Cultural Systems

Our daily routines are quietly haunted by 24/7 availability, permanent productivity and increasing functionality. It is even more important to build strong cultural systems to give people the chance to take it all in, to connect and create in local and global communities. For us in Service Design culture is not only a heritage or identity, it is also a much needed void to escape the confrontations of our hyper-effective systems and explore our (human) nature together.

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Design for Equity

While we keep developing and solving some problems, other issues become visible. As Service Designers we question fixed mindsets and actively respond to potential challenges. Designing for equity doesn't mean that everyone should be treated exactly the same, but we need to understand the real needs and create a space which allows diversity. We are not equal yet, but we can design the way our world serves us towards an equitable future. Amplifying the voices that need to be heard, find a balance, and enable people to enjoy the same beautiful world.

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New Business

The landscape of our businesses consists of ever new and fresh ideas, while big players are growing in accelerating speed. It’s a race between agility and consistency. As Service Designers we are focused on the legitimacy and purpose of a business and help the existing landscape to flourish. We mediate between the makers and the people and planet to bring together real needs and real visions. Transforming businesses to flexibly progress towards a more social and sustainable future.

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Reimagining Agency

The whole world needs to be reframed and put under construction. So as Service Designers we move beyond the actual invention and think about ways to set an impulse, to educate ourselves and others creatively. Finding ways to distribute knowledge for everyone to make more conscious decisions from the inside. When the immediate environment becomes a complex mesh of responsibilities we need to reimagine peoples agency.

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Responsible Data

Data and new technologies can be both saviours and secret weapons. They are independent, yet the ways they are used or abused are driven by human biases and purposes. What can be the true potential of data? Service designers are stepping in to explore how our technological tools can truly benefit humanity and the planet. And make contributions to health, politics, built environment and education in becoming responsible data.

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Sustainable Culture & Practice

Since the industrial revolution, consumer consumption has been a driving force within the global economy; but today the vast amounts of materials and energy used to supply the markets is leading us beyond safe planetary boundaries. We question the net benefit of some existing practices and propose system interventions that can contribute to the emergence of truly sustainable societies.

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The Class of 2021
The Class of 2021 have worked digitally since May 2020 and this will be their second on line show. The WiP Shown in January highlighted several key areas that have evolved in to the final projects: agency for humans within systems, equity and fairness beyond equality and the challenges of hybrid working and mental wellbeing.

The students have mastered the digital tools to collaborate and explore and have shown how to connect and learn from the people at the heart of the projects. They have discovered deep insights and prototyped ideas  to successfully measure impact, despite the huge challenges. An amazing achievement.
At the heart of the Service Design course is engagement with real problems in the world. Working with amazing industry partners, the student work has covered a broad range of projects. This year we have arranged the work around a series of themes that showcase the impact and ethos of service design. These include resilience, sustainability, equity, economics and cultural - facing forward to light way to new ideas.

Thank you to all the partners, from UNDP to January Land Rover, who have worked with the students over the last six months.
The Class of 2021 have been the worst impacted by the pandemic lock down, having spent only a small portion of their time on campus. Yet during these times, the students have created some of the best projects we have seen. Their resilience and creativity continues - find out more about each of our amazing cohort and give them some time to explore their work click on their links and talk to them about their projects.
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