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Dan Lockton, Jet Vervoort, Maikel Waardenburg, Jessica Duncan, Josie Chambers, Raimon Ripoll Bosch, Joost Vervoort, Joyce Browne, George Downward, Alay Llamas, Sable Knight, Dan Vy Vu, and Saskia Colombant

How can we play with the systems we’re in?

Our Playing With Systems workshop explores the use of playful activities to foster and support interdisciplinary connections and collaborations in a systemic design context. Building on our previous workshop, Playing With The Trouble at RSD11 (Figure 1), we focus specifically on the challenges of “unmaking” systems as part of a wider programme of developing creative prototype minigames addressing different aspects of the challenges faced in collaborations between disciplines—in practice and academia. We invite you to bring your systems, and we’ll explore and unmake them together through activities that, we hope, can be useful (and, perhaps, ultimately transformative) in your research and practice.

The systemic design community, with experience in crossing boundaries and co-designing, working at different levels of abstraction, is well positioned to tackle many of these challenges, including surfacing (and understanding each other’s) worldviews, facilitating collective imagination, and embracing ambiguity and uncertainty. But the notions of collaboratively interrogating the systems we are in, excavating assumptions, dismantling and unpicking power structures, and proposing new ways to intervene and (re)build, are central to the kind of reflexive understanding that systemic designers bring to interdisciplinary (and transdisciplinary) projects. Our facilitation team (a subset of the authors) includes project members from a large interdisciplinary team of researchers working at the intersection of technical, social, political, (bio)medical, and humanistic fields, and we aim to make the most of participants’ (inter-) disciplinary and systems expertise. This is a co-design session in which participants make new connections and collaborations with each other through play.

KEYWORDS: interdisciplinarity, play, unmaking, methods

Presentation dates

October 10 | in-person

Expertisenetwerk Systemisch Co-design
octopus tentacles as system

An example of one of the activities, Tentacular Worlds, being tested at a recent workshop in Ede, Netherlands, with participants from different (non-design) backgrounds.

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Citation Data

Author(s): Dan Lockton, Jet Vervoort, Maikel Waardenburg, Jessica Duncan, Josie Chambers, Raimon Ripoll Bosch, Joost Vervoort, Joyce Browne, George Downward, Alay Llamas, Sable Knight, Dan Vy Vu, and Saskia Colombant
Year: 2023
Title: Playing With Systems
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/playing-with-systems
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Amsterdam, NLD
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404