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RSD12: Entangled in Emergence


A Systemic Design Resource

by | Oct 2021 | About RSD

This website is a systemic design resource that is continuously updated with the proceedings of the annual Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium and other Systemic Design Association (SDA) events. It also serves as a searchable repository of peer-reviewed work in systemic design. SDA also publishes Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal.

Through the initiatives of the Systemic Design Association’s (SDA) board of directors, host organisations, systemic designers and researchers, the RSD archives represent a repository for hundreds of independently produced contributions within the development of the systemic design field. RSD symposia have been hosted by organisations in Canada, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Getting started

The collection’s genesis goes back to the first RSD, organised by Birger Sevaldson as a graduate seminar at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). Since then, the annual call for contributions has received many submissions representing leading research and cases in systemic design and related design and systems disciplines. The discourse community was formalised when a small group connected AHO and OCAD University to form the Systemic Design Research Network to advance systemic design as an integrated design discipline. Then, in 2018, in conjunction with RSD7, the Systemic Design Association was formed, and its first general assembly at Politecnico di Torino and announced at the symposium. Today, the SDA is a democratic, non-profit scholarly association based on academic and industry relationships and invites faculty and students worldwide to become members, participate in events, and share research.

Each year, the RSD symposium acts as a capstone event in the systemic design community. A scientific review committee for each RSD symposium provides the capacity and expertise required to review and comment on submissions. The contributors present their work, introducing new studies, theoretical work, and practices from various disciplines. The presentations represent complex design issues, social systems and complex policy, socioecological sustainability, critical cultural and development perspectives, and emerging techniques and methodology. Finally, the SDA produces annual RSD proceedings as a unique collection of contributions and editorials by the chair(s).

As a next step, SDA editors have also collaborated with She Ji, Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, FormAkademisk, Research Journal of Design and Design Education, and interdisciplinary journals such as the Strategic Design Research Journal. In 2023, SDA launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal, an open-access, peer-reviewed research journal supported by members of the Systemic Design Association. It is the first journal dedicated to scholarly reporting and research studies in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design. The journal is dedicated to systemic design and innovation, design process, and design thinking in today’s complex sociotechnical environment.

Committing to a systemic design resource

In 2021, the SDA board moved the archive to the searchable format you are now experiencing as This move toward a robust, searchable repository signals the SDA’s commitment to maintaining an authoritative source for hundreds of systemic design presentations, papers, and systems maps. Furthermore, SDA licenses all work under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Systemic designers—academics, practitioners, and researchers – collectively contribute to furthering systemic design as an interdiscipline that joins systems thinking to design methodology. The aims of the RSD collection include supporting an international knowledge-sharing network of systemic designers. Through the RSD symposia, the SDA advances design practice to lead programs of strategic scale and higher complexity (e.g., social policy, healthcare, education, urbanisation), adapt systems thinking methods, and creatively push the boundaries beyond the popular modes of systems dynamics and soft systems.

Featured image (above): A detail from the sketchnote of Integrating Selves and Systems through Ritual. Courtesy of | Komal Jain.

Systemic Design Association

SDA is a membership organization registered with the Brønnøysund Register Centre in Norway.

The first RSD symposium was held in 2012 at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Announcing the first call for manuscripts for the inaugural issue of the SDA Journal.

Mieke on-campus and online

RSD10 Hybrid Event hosted by TU Delft, The Netherlands.

RSD5 guest

The systemic design community gathering at RSD5.

For authors & contributors

What and Why: Entanglements

What and Why: Entanglements

Considering entanglements in our everyday lives, different views of entanglements, and why we chose them for RSD12.

RSD12 Symposium: Entangled in Emergence

RSD12 Symposium: Entangled in Emergence

Entangling and unravelling are complementary processes. Even the deepest entanglements eventually unravel, and every unravelling is an opportunity for new entanglements to emerge.

RSD12 Focus Areas

RSD12 Focus Areas

How the RSD12 programme is organised: tracks, theme, sub-theme, and focus areas.

RSD Review Process

RSD Review Process

Details about formats for authors, facilitators, and exhibitors. Contributions are included in the proceedings, a searchable repository of systemic design resources used by researchers, teachers, and practitioners.

RSD Style Guide

RSD Style Guide

Submission guidelines provide a detailed description of how to prepare a document for all submission formats: papers, presentations, workshops, and systems maps and exhibits.

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