A long-standing powerhouse in the design disciplines, the University of Brighton is drawing worldwide excellence onto its campuses in early October 2022 as our architects and designers host the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD) symposium, RSD11.
Hosted by Brighton's Radical Methodologies Research Group in partnership with the Systemic Design Association and the Design Council, with support from the School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering, this is the first time RSD has been hosted in the UK.
What's happening at RSD11?
The RSD11 conference looks to question the emerging shape of systemic design as it becomes a distinct part of mainstream design discourse, and to challenge and pluralise its modes of working through developing its transdisciplinary connections.
Particular focuses of RSD11 include
- Confronting Legacies of Oppression, which examines how systemic design is often complicit in the reproduction of oppression, contributing to structural inequities being designed into our systems.
- Designing Radical Shifts for Planetary Health, which recognises how the global COVID-19 pandemic forces us to confront the importance of understanding and responding to global ecologies of health. Our health depends on the health of others and on networks, systems, and webs of planetary health. So, how can systemic design modes and models simultaneously ethically engage within the bodily, social, and political histories of the contexts that they exist within? To what extent does this perspective extend or challenge the existing focus on health and well-being within systemic design?
- Re-Imagining the Intentionality of Architecture, which is based on the potential transformations of the role architecture plays in the built environment. Expanding design considerations to include possible future scenarios for the life of architecture; decentering the primacy of human purpose and agency in the built environment, and utilising the complex dynamics of systemic relations to reshape spatial environments and human beings’ roles in them. In what ways might architects begin to settle into a broader territory of operativity and awareness, and what would this mean for the discipline and its practices? Can this intense period of augmenting design processes and their outcomes also afford ways of reimagining the intentionality of what architecture is and what/whom it is for?
The event is available both online and in person, with a satellite event at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
What is systemic design?
Part of the core-thinking within the university's Radical Methodologies Research Group, systemic design is a developing field of design practice that looks to address systemically complex challenges - such as social and ecological transformations and design for multistakeholder socio-technical systems such as healthcare. Drawing on conceptual and methodological resources from systems thinking (and other systems fields such as cybernetics and complexity), systemic designers have and are developing modes of working through those troubling situations where it is hard to act due to uncertain boundaries and conflicting criteria.
Brighton design researchers take the stage and prepare the courses for future designers
A timely platform for our research excellence across architecture and design, hosting RSD11 has proved an opportunity to consolidate recent developments in design education and research at the university. The research staff and postgraduate research students have addressed systemic questions in distinctive ways with many of Brighton's architecture and design researchers involved in presenting work or in organising the programme, including Dr Ben Sweeting, Sally Sutherland, Dr Tom Ainsworth, Queenie Clarke, Gareth Lloyd, James Tooze, Jeff Turko, Professor Andre Viljoen, and Professor Karen Cham.
The conference will feature peer reviewed papers from several recent graduates of Brighton's highly regarded MA Sustainable Design programme, which has been pioneering a radical and critical approach to designing sustainability.
Brighton's Master of Architecture (MArch RIBA II) and MRes Architectural Research courses also integrate modes of systemic thinking while, for undergraduates, Brighton's Product Design with Professional Experience BSc(Hons) course has been redesigned to address systemic questions, focusing on distributive design and open design.
Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD11): Possibilities and Practices of Systemic Design
RSDX online events until 9 October 2022
Pre-symposium workshops online and in person Wednesday 12 October 2022
RSD11 Symposium online and in person 13-16 October 2022