SCiO Virtual Open Meeting - July 2020

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Virtual Open Meeting, a series of presentations of general interest to Systems & Complexity in Organisation's members and others.

About this Event

SCiO organises Open Meetings to provide opportunities for practitioners to learn and develop new practice, to build relationships, networks hear about skills, tools, practice and experiences. This is going to the first in the series of virtual sessions held on Zoom, the details of which will be confirmed nearer the time.

the programme for 13 July is as follows:

18:30 – Welcome, SCiO notices, virtual housekeeping

18:40 – Community exercise

18:50 – Session 1 (presentation followed by Q & A ) – Marie Davidova

19:40 – Session 2 (presentation followed by Q & A) – Malcolm Cawood

20:25 – Summary and close


Session 1 - Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance: The Hyperobjective Media and Agency in Co-creative Design Processes

This session by Marie Davidova will focus on Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance (SAAP) design field and hyperobjectivity of its prototypes. The field discusses the question of cities’ adaptation to climate change and biodiversity loss. Current environmental ecology research shows that species that have adapted to agricultural land hundreds of years ago are recently adapting for life within the cities. Our agricultural land has become so toxic, due to pesticides, etc., that the built environment now offers them better living conditions. Our cities therefore need to adapt for such co-living situation.

The research demonstrates this through full-scale eco-systemic prototypical urban interventions and their historical context studies. It considers not only the prototypes’ design and creation process but also their performance within the ‘real life’ environment. This covers observations of their generative codesigning agency across the bio-technological eco-system and speculations of their futures. This is including human and non-human, living and non-living communities. Further on, the work reaches larger scale and layer through spreading its parametric DIY recipes and codes for prototypes’ locally adapted iterations for communities across the world.

SAAP is fusion of process‐based fields formally initiated by integration of Systems Oriented Design and Performance Oriented Architecture. It develops methodology and generates theory through experimental practice. SAAP involves Time Based Eco‐Systemic Trans-Disciplinary Co‐Design that is performed by both biotic and abiotic agents, including humans. It belongs to broader field of Systemic Design, considering overall eco-system.

About Dr. Marie Davidova

Marie Davidová, MArch, MNAL, ARB, Ph.D. is a lecturer (teaching & research) at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) where she leads Synergetic Landscapes Unit in MAAD program. She is a founding member and chair of Collaborative Collective practice design-research network NGO and a founding member of Systemic Design Association. Marie is a practising architect registered in Norway and UK, researcher and educator. She has defended her PhD thesis ‘Wood as a Primary Medium to Eco-Systemic Performance: The Case Study in Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance’ (Davidová, 2017) in Architecture: Theory and Creation in January 2018 at the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Faculty of Architecture (FA CTU), MOLAB Department. The thesis was developed under the supervision of Miloš Florián (FLO|W) and Birger Sevaldson (Ocean Design Research Association) and represents an in-depth case study investigation within SAAP design field. At this department, Marie had been also collaborating as a scientific consultant in studios FLO|W and PET‐MAT between 2013 and 2017. Before joining WSA, she has been a researcher and principal investigator of Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance (SAAP) project held at the Faculty of Art and Architecture at the Technical University of Liberec (FUA TUL) in cooperation with the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).


Session 2 – Shakespeare & Systems Thinking - the high and low co-operate in the general system of unavoidable concatenation

People I talk to often seem a little wary of the term “systems thinking” – a bit abstract, perhaps, and far too intellectual. On other hand, anyone who can appreciate complex drama, from Shakespeare to modern TV shows like The Wire, is arguably already doing it, that is thinking, to some degree, systemically. These complex and involved dramas invariably reflect something about social reality as well as one’s own actions and limits within that reality; but they rarely, if ever, offer up prescriptions or “solutions”. Rather, they are – like myth - stories for making sense of the world, or in Kenneth Burke’s phrase, “equipment for living”.

Dr Johnson wrote in his “Preface to Shakespeare” (1765), that, in Shakespeare, we see “the high and low co-operate in the general system of unavoidable concatenation” (a suggestive phrase 150 years before systems thinking came on the scene).The presentation explores examples of this “unavoidable concatenation” – not just within the plays themselves, but also between the actors and the audience, both of whom are historically-embedded.

About Malcolm Cawood

Malcolm Cawood currently work as a Business Architect for a major investment bank. Before that, he was a consultant for a vendor of enterprise architecture modelling tools, a technical author, worked for various local education authorities during a time of major organizational change, tried (but failed) to write a thesis on political drama, has a degree in English, and an MSc in human computer interaction. This presentation is, in some ways, a synthesis of those experiences and ongoing interests


About SCiO

SCiO is a community of systems practitioners who believe that traditional approaches to running organisations are responsible for many of the problems we see today. We believe that systemic approaches to designing and running organisations offer radically new and better alternatives.

SCiO has three main objectives:

  • Developing practice in applying systems ideas to a range of organisational issues
  • Disseminating the use of systems approaches in dealing with organisational issues
  • Supporting practitioners in their professional practice.

Many systems practitioners can feel isolated in their organisations. SCiO provides a way to talk to and get support from a wide range of like minded people and see how they are addressing similar challenges.

SCiO is a charity and social enterprise - SCiO started in the UK, but there are now groups throughout Europe. Please visit our website for further details and sign-up to become a member:

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