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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.

2022 marks the first year of Contexts – The Systemic Design Journal, a society-published journal for research contributions in the field.

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 series was launched. The Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium 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 ten symposia, the SDA has a corpus of over 650 proceedings articles, seven issues of FORM Akademisk, two RSD theme issues of She Ji, and several books.

RSD11 Call for Contributions

Call for papers, presentations, workshops, and exhibits that challenge, extend, critique, and diversify established working methods in systemic design.

Journal Articles

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

Contexts - SDA Journal

In step with the systemic design’s movement toward disciplinary discourse, the SDA has launched Contexts – The Systemic Design Journal.

Featured Books

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

Publishing Spiral

After nearly a decade of the publishing ladder, SDA has adopted a cyclic publishing “spiral” to re-centre the overall approach to systemic design publishing.

drawing of spiral as a path

SDA Publishing

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

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