Howard Silverman

Pacific Northwest College of Art, Willamette University

As a future-focused activity, design is always about time. In this talk, I distinguish temporal stances and explore them through a three-part framework: design for, in, and of time. I contemplate this for/in/of framework as follows. To design for time is to aim for a particular temporal experience as a desired outcome or emergent facility of one’s design efforts. Artefacts like clocks and cathedrals, for example, each anchor human activity systems that constrain and afford temporal awareness, with very different results. Meanwhile, service and user experience designs often aim for temporal values such as convenience and efficiency. Next, given that each of us lives in time, I describe an appreciation of one’s design-in-time stance as cultivating a reflexive awareness of one’s temporal positionalities, perhaps thereby avoiding presumptive pitfalls of individual and socio-cultural temporocentrisms, such as Eurocentric historical periodisations. Third, with a design-of-time approach, one focuses attention on time itself, that is, on the potential variety and malleability of temporal compositions, perhaps by facilitating self-reflective examinations of temporal experiences, metaphors, and values. In exploring these stances and their interrelationships, I aim to elicit questions and ruminations on time-design and on how one’s design for/in/of time might contribute to one’s purposes and presences; however, they are conceived and expressed. 

KEYWORDS: temporality, futures, cybernetics, preposition play

Citation Data

Author(s): Howard Silverman
Year: 2022
Title: Design For/In/Of Time
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD11
Article No.: 106
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 ##.

Publishing with RSD

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.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The Scholars Spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholars 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.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


Verified by MonsterInsights