Advancing Systemic Design Scholarship

The RSD Symposia series was initiated a decade ago in response to the rise of the systemic turn in design programs and studies, and the lack of direction in the literature. The SDA was formed to sustain this movement, to build a base of research and scholarship to support new design theory and practice in complex systems.

2023 marked the first year of Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal.

Harold Nelson and Eric Stolterman, after the publication of The Design Way, held a call for a state-of-the-art collection of work in systems thinking and design for a special issue of Design Issues. However, in 2012 there was insufficient development or depth in the field, and the project was abandoned due to the lack of content. Birger Sevaldson at AHO initiated a graduate workshop (RSD1) to share methods and develop scholarship, and in collaboration with Dr. Nelson and Peter Jones at OCADU, the RSD Symposium was launched. Relating Systems Thinking and Design started to build a corpus of work in this emerging interdiscipline. With a publishing partnership already in place with Birger’s editorial position in FORM Akademisk, the first special issues (theory and practice) were published following RSD2. After 10 symposia, the SDA has a corpus of over 950 proceedings articles, seven issues of FORM Akademisk, two RSD theme issues of She Ji, and several books.

Contexts Journal

In step with the systemic design's movement toward disciplinary discourse, the SDA's first volume of Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal was published in January 2023.

SDA Publishing

Thinking of scholarship in terms of a cyclic, spiral process supports a vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars.

RSD12 event image is a bright clock with many hands and stripes and squares around it

RSD12 | OCT 6–20, 2023

This year, Georgetown University and partner hubs around the world hosted a multi-event symposium—a sequence of in-person, online, and hybrid presentations, online workshops, and sessions livestreamed from 13 hubs worldwide. The 15-day online programme culminated with a three-day event, October 18–20, 2023, hosted on-campus at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and the SDA General Assembly on Friday, October 20, 2023. Proceedings will be finalised by March 2024.

Journal Articles

Several high-quality design journals welcome systemic design and RSD proceedings editors have collaborated on notable issues.

RSD11 proceedings

The Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD11 is representative of the whole RSD11 experience—submissions and reviews, RSDX and the University of Brighton event. Producing the proceedings was a brilliant experience that advanced systemic design and the repository.

Featured books

Recent and upcoming books in systemic design and from SDA authors are featured.

Searchable Repository | Since 2012






The Systemic Design Association will send you quarterly updates on systemic design and activities in the SDA network. During the annual Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD) Symposium timeframe SDA will send brief updates related to RSD keynotes, papers, and workshops.

RSD11 event updates, program content, and proceedings are posted on