Systems, Crafts, and Sustainability

  • J. G. Howell
  • J. G. Gammack


Prior to the 1993 UKSS conference at Paisley, in order to better understand the aims of the conference and of the society members, one of the main speakers read the volume of conference proceedings. In his opening address, Owen Taylor (1993) interpreted the domain of systems thinking and practice as being able to offer new and worthwhile insights into varied and complex systems and, in particular, to the environs of Paisley. The Leader of the Town Council envisaged our work (systems practitioners of the UKSS) as being able to appraise holistically the changing systems. Examples of systems were drawn from traditional craft systems such as shipbuilding, car building, thread and cloth making. All of these systems have been reduced to a significantly depleted state with an ensuing effect on employment, wealth and the economic wellbeing of the community of Paisley. Consequent improvements had been noted to other “systems”, such as cleaner rivers, reduced pollution, increased leisure hours. Whether these changing systems had, on the whole, proved beneficial to the local communities is difficult to determine. There are different viewpoints and stakeholder interests in play. The contribution of systems thinking to the understanding of complex systems is very real.


System Thinking Transferable Skill Apprenticeship System Craft Skill Professional Pride 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Howell
    • 1
  • J. G. Gammack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computing and Information SystemsUniversity of PaisleyPaisleyScotland, UK

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