Tara Campbell and Cheryl Hsu

David Suzuki Foundation | Independent

Facing global crises that are interconnected and overlapping, it is clear that the world as we know it is in transition. Some call this the meta-crisis. Some situate us in a time between worlds, where we are “living off of expired stories” (Machado de Oliveira, 2021) and need to ready ourselves for different ones. In the tradition of systemic design, we seek to inquire into how design practices can be adapted for deeply complex contexts like transition. What does it mean to situate our design practice in the societal transitions we find ourselves in and with some directionality toward the transitions we desire? We are asking ourselves these questions in an ongoing project focused on transitions to well-being economies in Toronto, Canada.

Here, we outline four systemic design orthodoxies (i.e., norms that guide thinking and action) that we hypothesize can be limiting working within the context of transition: rushing, seriousness, needing requisite variety, and creating anew. In our project, we experiment with flipping these orthodoxies and working from a foundation of slowing down, light-heartedness, following existing relations, and noticing existing wisdom and innovation. In our presentation, we share stories and learnings from the project thus far and reflect on what it means to design in this time between worlds.

KEYWORDS: transition design, systemic design, orthodoxies, well-being economies

Sketchnote by Patricia Kambitch | Playthink

Sketchnote by Yatin

Citation Data

Author(s): Tara Campbell and Cheryl Hsu
Year: 2022
Title: Design for a Time Between Worlds
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 108
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/design-for-a-time-between-worlds
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.

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

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