A Series of Climate Change Workshops/Conferences

An outline proposal document by John Wood
unpacking metadesign 3D modeling

Underlying Theme

Climate change (and how Metadesigner practices might contribute to the challenges
SUGGESTED TITLE - A RELATIONAL DESIGN WORKSHOP - organised by the Metadesigners Network

Purpose of Workshop

  1. To make a practical, positive contribution to global issues of climate change
    • (n.b. this is a very ambitious quest that amounts to seeking a new paradigm).
  2. To acquire and/or develop new methods of working and/or genres of academic conferencing.
  3. To introduce metadesigning to Goldsmiths students.
  4. To add to our existing repertoire of metadesign methods
  5. To work with The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF) to mutual benefit.
    • TUFF is a non-religious and apolitical charity with a keen interest in education-focused innovation (including our work).
    • They have offered to seek funding on our behalf.
    • They have also expressed an interest in applying relevant aspects of our work in other countries.


  1. October/November 2018? (at Goldsmiths)
  2. Subsequently at other London University venue
  3. Some time before mid 2019 at a central London location, such as the Design Museum


  1. 2-days of active and creative work sessions that are designed to deliver practical, workable outcomes.
    • i.e. unlike standard academic conferences, in which papers are produced for 'research' viable publication.
  2. Each individual would 'face-to-face' with every one else (over the first 2 hours), then work in one of four teams.
  3. The ideas would then be combined, systematically, with other ideas to find new possibilities.
  4. These new possibilities (i.e. potential outcomes) would be handed over to practical implementation teams (after the workshop)


As this would be a outcomes-centred event it does not need a public, auspicious (expensive), central location.

  1. Suggested: Goldsmiths campus in New Cross SE146NW (n.b. Prof. Mike Waller is keen to support this venture)
  2. Perhaps in the Hexagon Room? (if it's big enough)
  3. If not, perhaps in the Main Hall?
  4. Perhaps in the Goldsmiths Design Department's MA space at Lewisham College


  1. Post-grads (total number of MA students=100)
  2. Active participation of special guests up to 50
  3. Ourselves as metadesigners (10-ish?)
  4. Absolute upper limit of 150 active participants.

Suggested Guests


Five Categories of 'DOING'

tetrad-ABCD-1.jpg square-50cm-spacer.jpg Black X

Organs of The Living Conference - A, B, C, D and X

These categories are not intended to be an accurate, or 'true' reflection, of what people might actually do. It is intended as a general summary of everything that comes under the heading of 'making a practical difference'. The use of bodily terms is inspired by (leaderless) living systems that work together to enable the organism to sustain itself. It is intended as a framework for including the most effective methods for changing the paradigm (everything we are doing to hasten disastrous climate changes).

A = BRAIN SYSTEM (organ of reflection / envisioning / planning)

  • Framing new legislation / codes of practice / standards / lifestyles

B = LANGUAGING SYSTEM (re-connecting & sense-making)

  • Facilitating new possibilities / framing situation / elucidating / communicating / educating /

C = METABOLIC SYSTEM (muscles / limbs / organs of nourishment / digestion / mobility)

  • Delivering practical infrastructure / hardware / useable systems

D = SENSORY SYSTEM (organs of sensation & experiential awareness)

  • Attuning to new ideas / possibilities / patterns of thought / zeitgeist

X = REALITY-CHECKER (external agent that acts a mirror)

  • Validating information & offering expert evidence (e.g. scientist / climate change expert)


s1) (D-B) - new synergies team 1

s2) (A-B) - new synergies team 2

s3) (B-C) - new synergies team 3

s4) (C-A) - new synergies team 4

s5) (C-D) - new synergies team 5

s6) (D-A) - new synergies team 6

See the list of possible invitees.


  • Arthur, B. (1996) ‘Increasing returns and the new world of business’, Harvard Business Review, July/August 1996, p. 100
  • Backwell, J., & Wood, J., (2009), “Mapping Network Consciousness: syncretizing difference to co-create a synergy-of-synergies”, in Angewandte Ascott, R.; Bast, G.; Fiel, W.; Jahrmann, M.; Schnell, R. (Eds.) New Realities: Being Syncretic, Ixth Consciousness Reframed Conference Vienna, 2008. Series: Edition.
  • Backwell, J., & Wood, J., (2011), ‘Catalysing Network Consciousness in Leaderless Groups: A Metadesign Tool’, in Consciousness Reframed 12, Art, Identity and the Technology of the Transformation, editors Roy Ascott & Luis Miguel Girão, University of Aveiro, Portugal, pp. 36-41
  • Belbin, R.M. (2010), Team Roles at Work, Butterworth-Heinemann?, Oxford
  • Corning, P., (1983), The Synergism Hypothesis, Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, Palo Alto
  • Corning, P., (2003), Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind, Cambridge University Press, NY, USA, 2003
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  • Fuller, R. B., (1971), Nine Chains to the Moon, Anchor Books 1938
  • Fuller, R. B., (1975), “Synergetics: Explorations In The Geometry Of Thinking”, in collaboration with E.J. Applewhite. Introduction and contribution by Arthur L. Loeb. Macmillan
  • Kauffman, S., (1995), At Home in the Universe, the search for the laws of self-organization’, Oxford University Press Inc, New York
  • Koestler, A., (1964). The Act of Creation, Penguin, London
  • L. Margulis, The Symbiotic Planet: a New look at Evolution, Science Masters, New York (1998)
  • Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M., (1980), Metaphors We Live By, University of Chicago: Chicago and London
  • Maturana, H., & Varela, F., (1980): ‘Autopoiesis and Cognition; the realisation of the Living’, in Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science, Reidel: Boston.
  • Meadows, D. H. (1999). Leverage points: Places to intervene in a system (pp. 1-19). Hartland, VT: Sustainability Institute.
  • Pimm, S. L. (1997). The value of everything. Nature, 387, 231-232.
  • Romer, P., (1986), Increasing Returns and Long Run Growth, Journal of Political Economy 94 (October): pp. 1002-1037
  • Whorf, B. L., (1956) Language, Thought and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.
  • Wood, J., (2011), Languaging Change from Within; Can We Metadesign Biodiversity? Journal of Science and Innovation, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2011, 25-32, ISSN 2078-5453
  • Wood, J., (2013), Metadesigning Paradigm Change: an ecomimetic, language-centred approach”, a chapter in The Handbook of Design for Sustainability, (ed. Stuart Walker & Jacques Giard), Bloomsbury Academic, London & New York, pp. 428-445
  • WWF. 2014. Living Planet Report 2014: Summary. McLellan, R., Iyengar, L., Jeffries, B. and N. Oerlemans (Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland.
  • Yunus, M., (2007), ‘Creating a World Without Poverty; social business and the future of capitalism’, Publicaffairs, USA

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