RSD11 in 2022: University of Brighton
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RSD11 in 2022: the first UK symposium

At the close of RSD10 and the SDA General Assembly, we had a surprise announcement about the host for RSD11 in 2022. The University of Brighton’s School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering (ATE) expressed their interest in being the 2022 host in a letter from Dr Ben Sweeting, Principal Lecturer, School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering, Professor Alison Bruce, Associate Dean (Research & Knowledge Exchange), School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering, and Professor Mohammed Arif, Dean of the School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering.

The letter was presented at the General Assembly and enthusiastically endorsed by SDA members. In no small part, because the University of Brighton is a professionally and vocationally focused institution with an international reputation for design. Brighton was host to the Design Research Society conference in 2016 and ranked in the Top 100 in Art and Design in the QS Global World Rankings.

There is also strong support for the initial RSD11 team, led by SDA member and RSD contributor Ben Sweeting, together with Sally Sutherland, James Tooze, Tom Ainsworth, Andre Viljoen, Jeff Turko, Karen Cham, and others. The team is primarily situated in ATE’s architecture and spatial and product design programs. The group has started reaching out to colleagues in Engineering and the School of Art and Media, reflecting the broad relevance of design-led systems thinking that they have in mind. Finally, SDA board members look forward to RSD11 in 2022 as an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with people in the vibrant UK design community and build relationships with UK societies and institutions, such as the Design Council.

RSD11 is in good hands in 2022

The University of Brighton’s ATE has a long-established relationship with SDA and the RSD symposium – and there is a great deal of alignment between RSD and Brighton’s approach to design. The critical approach to sustainable transition is taken in the BSc Product Design and MA Sustainable Design programs, with research groups in Radical Methodologies (which draws on second-cybernetics, feminisms, and discursive design), and Design for the Circular City and Region (conducting applied research in urban agriculture and the circular economy).

The general outline for RSD11 is a three-day symposium with a pre-conference workshop day. The time frame under consideration is mid-October, and there’s hope that we can once again convene in person. RSD9 and RSD10 were online events, with a small in-person delegation at TU Delft in 2021; Brighton plans to flip this and favour a place-based event. However, the team is mindful of the requirement to make presentations accessible to systemic designers worldwide. The preliminary plan is to livestream keynote and plenary presentations and coordinate a dedicated online program running parallel over the conference days. A space will be made available on campus for in-person delegates to gather for the online program.

RSD10 introduced the distinction between short and long papers. The RSD11 team plans to build on this while re-integrating the practice of allowing extended abstracts to be (single-blind) reviewed for acceptance of presentations at the conference, providing a mechanism for developing in-progress and late-breaking work. Therefore, Brighton plans to accept full papers and extended abstracts leading to presentations. SDA board members are committed to supporting the review process and proceedings and welcome volunteers in various roles. Since some of the planning and the actual event will occur during term time, Brighton students and academics will directly contribute to the co-evolution of systemic design.

Brighton as a destination

Locations will be primarily university spaces, with external venues as needed. The University has several venues in the city, including the versatile Sallis Benney Theatre, with seats up to 270 guests (You can take a virtual tour of the Brighton campus, found here.) Brighton’s in-house conference and events team, Southcoast Event Support, manages and supports a range of events across the University and provides a professional conference experience.

Located on the south coast of England, Brighton is a vibrant city and a popular tourist and conference destination. It is in easy reach for delegates travelling internationally and from other parts of the UK. The University is an hour from central London and just 30 minutes from London Gatwick Airport by rail. There are many accommodation options, and the local tourism board, Visit Brighton, offers opportunities to secure preferential rates with local hotels.

Brighton’s School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering is based at the Moulsecoomb campus.

Brighton Palace Pier. Photo by Benn McGuinness on Unsplash

Beach houses along the pier. Photo by Rhys Kentish on Unsplash

Posted Nov-2021