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Evolving Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal comes of age

by | Apr 2024 | Call for Contributions, SDA blog

Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal has now completed two years of publishing. Although a “new systemic design journal,” we can already see the emergence of a unique discourse that continues to develop the RSD Symposium vision with conceptual themes, cases, and research studies.  Systemic design involves developing systems science and social theory from a design perspective and is, therefore, evolving its frameworks as a discourse field. The purpose of Contexts is to establish a journal for the field and its scholars to grow a continuing series of great ideas and exemplary studies within systemic design and to share them worldwide over time.

The start-up period for a journal in a niche field, a first journal, takes a lot of patience. Some fields in design studies have never started their own journals. Participatory design—a conference series I have attended biannually since 1990—has not organised a journal and remains a proceedings field. Although the ACM publishes more than 50 scholarly peer-reviewed journals, the ACM CHI conference continues with proceedings publications only.

While there are only nine Contexts articles on the SDA publications portal at this point, we are constantly receiving submissions, and reviews are an ongoing process. The founding editorial group has been thoughtfully considering these articles with several aims.

First, we aim to raise the quality of scholarship in systemic design by working more closely with authors. We use an iterative process of critical peer reviewing (by people in the RSD community) and generative editing (field-aware editing and contributions from the editor). This takes no longer than other journals and may be faster than most.

Secondly, we aim to curate a continuing conversation around the meaning constructed by work in the field through a good selection of work that is clearly informative for systemic design. We are seeing the emergence of a discourse that reflects back to the field as we are building it.

Third, we seek a range of ideas, design approaches, systems theories, and problem perspectives that will help establish the journal. Contexts is still a new journal, and we are excited by the vitality and integrity of the articles.

Finally, I should say how we are doing with Contexts. We are in a period where we are hand-crafting each submission, and as we grow and authors send us more material, we have a great basis upon which to build. Getting involved in the editorial process can deepen your involvement with systemic design. As a “new systemic design journal,” there’s also an open call for reviewing and technical assistance. If you have skills and would like to volunteer, contact me or Cheryl May.


Editor in Chief: Peter Jones, OCAD University, Canada |

Deputy Editor: Silvia Barbero, Politecnico di Torino, Italy |

Executive Editor: Cheryl May, London South Bank University, UK |


Michael Arnold Mages, Northeastern University, US

Amina Pereno, Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Josina Vink, Oslo School of Architecture & Design (AHO), Norway

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts at any time. Submit via EasyChair or contact Editor-in-Chief, Peter Jones.


Final submissions are due on
April 30

Open call for Reviewers
April 1–30

Feedback to authors
June 30

sessions OCTOBER 16–18

RSD13-OSLO & Nordmarka Forest October 22–26

Lidar-derived image of the Danube River and floodplain near Tulln, Austria. Daniel Coe. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

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