Thursday, June 09, 2016

‘STEPS': to a systemic ecology of mind - seminar

STEPS Centre Seminar, 1.00-2.30pm Monday 27 June 2016, IDS Convening Space

‘STEPS: to a systemic ecology of mind (with apologies to Gregory Bateson)’

By Ray Ison

My seminar will cover a broad sweep of issues under the general rubric of building systemic governing capability in the context of the Anthropocene. My starting point will be to lay down a challenge as to whether those present have a systemic ecology of mind?  I will then unpack what I consider to be significant limitations in much contemporary scholarship because of failures to understand: the 'feral concept' of system; praxis, or more specifically systems praxis; complexity, or complex adaptive system; transformation and governance, or governing.  I will ground the seminar in examples from recent research projects that employ, or are concerned with, social learning and systemic inquiry. In the discussion we can explore implications for the STEPs programme.

Ray Ison has an international reputation in, and has been a major contributor to, ‘cybersystemics’.  What is this field you may well ask?  Ray's rationale for using this term was explained in the presentation last year at ISSS2016 in Berlin of his Presidential Address for the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), and also in a special ‘systemic inquiry’ at Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover details of which can be found at this Blog site

Amongst other matters raised at these events was the significant institutional complexity in the cybersystemic field and the lack of intellectual and political influence for investment in and the furtherance of cybersystemic scholarship – particularly in key policy and research funding fora associated with the UN, Brussels, Washington and the like. This is despite the growing awareness that the issues of our time, the Anthropocene, if you will, are systemic in nature and thus require systemic responses, i.e., transformations. Ray has been Professor of Systems at The Open University (OU), UK since 1994. 

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