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Pittsburgh live October 6 and 7

colloquies for
trans­generational collabora­tion

systems, design,

Hosted by #NewMacy | October 6–8, 2023 | Carnegie Mellon University Campus | USA

In groups with interdisciplinary tendencies, there is some intermixing of viewpoints, but the fullness of transgenerational collaboration is rare. However, there is no greater passion for confronting wicked problems than with graduate students and early-career researchers—and long-career practitioners bring the explanatory value of concepts, models, and case studies.

Colloquies for Transgenerational Collaboration centre on a single organising principle: proceed from the younger participants’ starting points, worldviews, and values and create new framing and language through collaboration across generations, projects, disciplines, and practices. The public conversations are designed to discover compatibilities and develop a plan for continued, structured exchanges. They are the basis for ongoing design and co-creation—a living repository that will evolve with global collaboration and be documented and widely shared to benefit future researchers.

Carnegie Mellon University campus

Colloquies for trans­generational collaboration

RSD12-Pittsburgh—Colloquies for Transgenerational Collaboration (Colloquies)—brings together the focus and passion of today’s students and scholars with the experience of prior generations to create a trans-global, diverse and inclusive conversation for action.

Until recently, knowledge would be adjacent: the wisdom and practices of prior generations would be available and comprehensible and a mix of generations could converse fluently and collaborate. This is no longer the case. Prior work, disciplinary foundations, and scholarly practices no longer ground conversations across generations. The number of connections and interactions has exploded with communication platforms and devices, social networks and media creation. Cognitive overload, massive dissonance, loss of solitude and sense of self, misinformation and disinformation.

Join the conversation
RSD12-Pittsburgh will be held on the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) campus and directly engage students and faculty of CMU. The conversations will interest citizens with local knowledge involved in community development and changemaking—and scholars and practitioners interested in transgenerational collaboration, especially effective action, complex adaptive systems, and cybernetics.

Colloquies are supported by CMU’s School of Architecture and School of Design.

Colloquies for Transgenerational Collaboration are held as conversations in the presence of observer-participants. An adjacent initiative is #NewMacy, a series of global conversations initiated in March 2020, and co-producing with #RSD11 (October 2022) to enact conversations for action. The programme consisted of #NewMacy sessions in three acts and six studios.


how do I see the world? What do I desire? what do I want to change?

Trans­generational Collaboration

Wicked challenges of the present day are foremost on our minds, from climate change and population growth, totalitarian regimes and terrorism, economic insecurity and systemic inequities. The challenges are many and recursive: to fathom complicated situations, define scope, evolve our thinking, and build prototypes—all while fending off blocks to progress and discouragement to passion—leading us to question:

How do I see the world? What do I desire? What do I want to change? 

Contributions to this topic that explore the fullness of transdisciplinary collaboration could be framed within the following concepts; however, different approaches are welcomed and encouraged.

Effective Action

Effective action must emerge from framing and argumentation rather than analysis and problem-solving. Problem-finding and problem-definition must arise in conversation with all stakeholders. All must share the intention and hope of dampening harm rather than the illusion of erasing it.

Complex Adaptive Systems

Today’s world demands that designers share an understanding of complex adaptive systems. Their design challenges exist in the nested complexity of systems within systems within systems. We must see today’s world differently —presumptions about knowability and predictability no longer apply. At the same time, the domain of design is no longer that of products and services but of the consequential experiences of living beings embedded in the physical and social environments that sustain them.


This 21st-century context demands a systems viewpoint and the discipline of cybernetics, which offers a unifying epistemology and rigour for engaging with the intersection of purposeful living systems and taciturn non-living systems. As designing is an intentional system, cybernetics has much to say about 21st-century design methods, which in turn must influence how designers train and practise. Creating conditions for designing that are participatory and inclusive requires a focus on designing for conversations in order to respond equitably and effectively to global challenges.

trans­­generational entangle­ments

We can’t change what brought us here, but we can design around these barriers.
We can design for conversations across generations, geographies, and disciplines, with an explicit goal to engage with the wicked challenges of our time.

RSD12-Pittsburgh Organisers

Colloquies logo in the shape of an aster

The Colloquies are the design outcome of the Carnegie Mellon University project-based special topics seminar, Collaborations for Wicked Challenges, open to Grads and Undergrads in Spring 2023 and taught by Paul Pangaro, Visiting Scholar, School of Architecture & School of Design.


About Colloquies | #NewMacy

Colloquies for Transgenerational Collaboration are steered by previously established initiatives and the individuals that comprise them. Closest adjacent is the #NewMacy Initiative, a series of global conversations initiated in March 2020 at the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic.

#NewMacy is co-led by Kate Doyle and Paul Pangaro.

Kate Doyle, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Music in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at Rutgers University-Newark. She engages in the practice of cybernetics through international research partnerships that explore contemporary learning design and modes of hybrid conversation.

Paul Pangaro, PhD, is Visiting Scholar, School of Architecture and School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, and President, American Society for Cybernetics, a non-profit founded in the 1960s to foster awareness of the field. He founded the #NewMacy Initiative in the wake of COVID-19 in March 2020 to draw attention to other worldwide pandemics and engage the global Systems and Cybernetics communities in addressing them. His role at Carnegie Mellon University has afforded him an opportunity to directly engage CMU students in a project-based seminar to research and plan in Spring 2023 for the execution of the transgenerational collaboration beginning in Fall 2023 at CMU.

RSD12-Pittsburgh partners

New Macy hashtag