Live at RSD12-Loughborough. Livestream RSD12-ONLINE.

systems science, design science, citizen science, and data science

unity of purpose

Hosted by Loughborough University | October 13 & 14, 2023 | Loughborough Campus, East Midlands, UK

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, the integration of multiple disciplines has become essential to address complex challenges in climate, healthcare, energy, advanced technologies, to name a few. This RSD12 hub brings together researchers and practitioners who are interested in exploring the synergy between systems science, design science, citizen science and data science and their potential to solve complex challenges facing our societies.

We look forward to welcoming you to this exciting event and exploring the potential of synergies between these fields and beyond.

A brighter future for both systems thinking and pragmatism
By explicitly embracing pragmatism, and taking it forward through critical systems thinking and practice, systems thinking can realize the hopes of the original pioneers and chart a bright future for itself. A shared philosophical orientation will bring greater mutual understanding between the currently disparate strands of the systems movement and more unity of purpose.

—Michael Jackson (2023) | RSD12 Keynote


Jackson, M. (2023, April 04). Pragmatism and critical systems thinking: Back to the future of systems thinking. Integration and Implementation Insights.

Loughborough University School of Design

Policymakers, researchers, practitioners and students are invited to participate in this exciting transdisciplinary two-day systemic design symposium.

RSD12-LOUGHBOROUGH is organised by a team of researchers/practitioners from Loughborough University, who are responsible for programming and planning the event. The two-day symposium will be held on the Loughborough University campus, centrally located in the East Midlands and easily accessible by rail and road.

School of Design and Creative Arts

  • Professor Thomas Jun (socio-technical system design)
  • Dr Cecilia Landa-Avila (systemic design)
  • Professor Patrick Waterson (human factors and complex systems)
  • Dr Marianna Coulentianos (socially-engaged design)
  • Dr Val Mitchell (UX design)
  • Dr Carolina Escobar-Tello (sustainable design)
  • Dr Garrath Wilson (experience design)
  • Dr Shichao Zhao (digital creativity)
  • Dr Simon Downs (graphic communication)
  • Dr George Torrens (industrial design)

School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

  • Dr Melanie King (systems engineering)
  • Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard (systems engineering)
  • Dr Siyuan Ji (systems engineering)
  • Dr Mey Goh (transdisciplinary digital manufacturing)
  • Professor Michael Henshaw (systems engineering)

School of Business and Economics

  • Dr Antuela Tako (operations research)
  • Professor Ian Hodgkinson (strategic decision-making)
Some participants manifested that a timeline was too simple to represent the complexity of the system. Consequently, participants opted to express complexity through messy connections and organic circle structures.

—Cecilia Landa-Avila, Gyuchan Thomas Jun, Rebecca Cain, and Carolina Escobar-Tello (2018)


Landa-Avila I.C., Jun Gyuchan T., Cain R., & Escobar-Tello C. (2018). Holistic Outcome-Based Approach towards Sustainable Design Healthcare: Aligning the system purpose through system visualisation. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD7.

Interdisciplinary collaboration between three schools.

School of Design and Creative Arts | School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering | School of Business and Economics

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, the integration of multiple disciplines has become essential to address complex challenges. Our hub will bring together researchers and practitioners who are interested in systems thinking and design and their potential to solve complex challenges facing our societies.

messy connections and organic circle structures

Professor Rebecca Cain | RSD12-LOUGHBOROUGH PANEL


Synergies between sciences seeks systemic design projects with elements of one or several disciplines to build evaluative and foresight capabilities for complex problems.

The topics of discussion will include the combination of two or more of the following fields:

  • Systems science in designing and managing complex systems
  • Design science in developing innovative solutions to societal problems
  • Citizen science in engaging communities in research and decision-making
  • Data science in extracting insights and knowledge from complex data sets

The full two-day programme brings together peer-reviewed papers, panels, and a workshop for critical discussions that explore synergies between systems science, design science, citizen science, and data science.

Friday, October 13

  • Synergies and transdisciplinary panel
  • Engagement panel

Saturday, October 14

  • Hopeful synergies workshop and panel
  • Climate Action panel
  • Health panel
    … this fireside conversation will explore and tease out the issues that have made it difficult for design and systems academics and practitioners to arrive in this present moment in a conversation framed as systemic design.

    —Ray Ison introductory note to RSD12-Loughborough panel

    synergies entangle­ments

    How can we foster and sustain (un)conventional collaboration across disciplines and actors?
    How can we foster fair citizen engagement to contribute to the understanding of complex issues and systemic change?
    How can we develop wisdom from big data to shape what we do now and what we want to achieve in the future?
    How can we develop collective sense-making, collective decision-making and collective change-making?

    RSD12-LOUGHBOROUGH Organisers

    RSD is a project of the SDA


    Thomas Jun is a design educator/system scientist/participatory design facilitator and an animation/film producer working in human-centred design, healthcare system design and system safety. He co-founded a Human Factors and Complex Systems Research Group and currently leads an AI development for multiple long-term conditions project and the Systemsthinking lab.

    Cecilia Landa-Avila is interested in delving into the complexity of contemporary global challenges to transition towards equitable, just and sustainable health and well-being societies. Her research interest stands at the intersections of systems thinking, participatory/shared-power design and design for equity and decolonisation.

    Hub Partner

    Emily Carr University of Art and Design

    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.


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