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.
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. Birger Sevaldson initiated graduate workshops to share methods and skills with students. The Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium was started, partly to build a corpus of work in this emerging field. 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 nine symposia, the SDA has a corpus of over 550 proceedings articles, seven issues of FORM Akademisk, two RSD theme issues of She Ji, and several books.