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Dulmini Perera and Ben Sweeting

As systemic design develops and expands, its guiding epistemologies re-enter the modes of thinking and acting through which it is developed. This recursive structure forms root metaphors, where notions such as the system, the whole, and representing complexity become taken for granted within systemic designers’ everyday practices. While this process may be helpful in expanding ways of working and maintaining the identity of the field, the uncritical replication of these and other concepts may lead to discussions becoming bounded within preconfigured pathways that can lead to problematic consequences. In this dialogue session, we invite you to identify and explore root metaphors in your own practices and to contribute to the interrogation of systemic design’s underlying assumptions.

KEYWORDS: systemic design, sustainability transition, root metaphors, Gregory Bateson, second-order systems, cybernetics

The research has been supported by an AHRC-DFG research grant 2023-25 Enacting Gregory Bateson’s Ecological Aesthetics (Arts and Humanities Research Council [grant number AH/X002535/1]).




Citation Data

Author(s): Dulmini Perera and Ben Sweeting
Year: 2023
Title: Root Metaphors of Systemic Design, Problems and Possibilities: An invitation to dialogue
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Kingston, UK
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 3 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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