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Julia Schaeper

In this presentation, we build on recent discussions of a paper presented at DRS2022 that explores the theories of the commons and their applicability to systemic design to transition existing systems from being dysfunctional to being regenerative (Schaeper, Kothari, Hamilton, 2022). As many of our social and environmental challenges have been described as a failure of design (Escobar, 2018), designers have been called to reconsider the way they work and to ultimately ‘redesign design’ (Akama et al., 2019; Irwin, 2015). We begin the presentation by sharing a case study of a marine protected area in South Africa’s oceans and how a commoning practice could be applied more intentionally to increase cooperation amongst system actors and apply a multispecies—as opposed to human-centred—perspective to the management of natural, social, and immaterial resources. By drawing on our working hypothesis of how a commons approach could open up opportunities for creating the conditions of improved stakeholder cooperation, we will propose and invite further discussion around how ‘Commoning by Design’ could be positioned as an intentional and careful design act that aims at facilitating staying relational not only through alignment but by surfacing a plurality of voices and thereby holding space for conflicting planetary stakeholder needs, motivations and objectives.

Keywords: systemic design, commoning by design, commons, relational design, redesign design

Citation Data

Author(s): Julia Schaeper
Year: 2022
Title: Commoning by Design: Staying relational in conflict
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 100
Host: University of Brighton
Location: Brighton, UK
Symposium Dates: October 3–16, 2022
First published: 23 September 2022
Last update: 30 April 2023
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

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Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

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Peter Jones
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The scholar’s spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholar's spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

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