Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2009/08/30-09/05 London-Oxford-London-Hull-York

There can be a difference between vacation photos and travel photos.  Seven days in the UK in five cities wasn’t a leisurely plan, and business called for a few more train rides than originally planned.  For a coordinated series of research meetings, I arrived at Heathrow from Finland, and Gary arrived almost the same time from the U.S.  We took the tube to Waterloo station, and dragged our luggage to our hotel along the scenic South Bank of the Thames, seeing Westminister Abbey across the river.

di_20090830-091112-westmininsterabbey-thames.JPG

Having already been away from home for week, I craved Chinese cuisine.  We rode the tube to Piccadilly Circus, and wandered to find Chinatown on Gerrard Street — an easy street to remember, since the Chinatown at home bears the same name.
di_20090830-111218-gerrardst-gate.JPG

With the history of the Tavistock Institute at top of mind, we rode the tube up to Swiss Cottage to look at the Tavistock Clinic.  The Institute and Clinic used to be colocated, but are now independent entities.  On a late Sunday evening, the facilities were closed.

di_20090830-133430-tavistockcentre-sign.JPG

As a change from riding the London underground, we decided to return to the hotel on a double decker bus to see more of the city.  We rode from Swiss Cottage on a path including Wellington Road, to Victoria Station.

di_20090830-142122-londonbus-wellingtonroad.JPG

The next day, I acted as scribe while Gary conducted an interview with Sir Richard Bowlby, on the ties between the research between by John Bowlby and cybernetics.  Upon learning that the Bowlby archives are at the Wellcome Library, Gary and I decided to change our travel plans to reroute back through London for one day.

di_20090831-060946-hampsteadheath-gsm-rb.JPG

Accommodating a tight schedule, Dav and LJ met us at Paddington Station a few hours before we caught the train to Oxford.  LJ found a pub and then a restaurant nearby, after consulting Internet reviews on her mobile phone.

di_20090831-095716-london-park-db-ljr.JPG

We continued our journey up to Oxford for the 2009 UK Systems Society meeting.  Before the meeting started, Rafael Ramirez suggested that we meet him at Green Templeton College, where he’s a Fellow.

di_20090901-043728-greentempletoncolleage-observatory.JPG

Inside the Radcliffe Observatory, Gary, Minna and I were privileged to have a relaxed conversation with Rafael in the Common Room.

di_20090901-043454-greentempletoncolleage-commonroom-reading.JPG

Aside from UKSS meetings at St. Anne’s College, we had one afternoon free for sightseeing.  One of the distinctive places on campus is a church site converted with a cafe:  Vaults and Gardens.

di_20090901-121834-vaults-mt-gsm.JPG

Our original plans had been to travel northeast from Oxford to Hull direct, with Jennifer.  With the opportunity to deepen the the research base in the Bowlby archives, we bought ourselves an extra day in London with a routing southeast back to the city.  This time, we booked into a hotel in Bloomsbury, coincidentally close to Tavistock Square, the original neighbourhood for the Tavistock Institute and Clinic.

di_20090903-115240-tavistocksquare-from-e.JPG

Walking through Bedford Square, we noticed an installation by the Design and Make program of the Architectual Association school.  Following the tradition of summer pavilions mounted since 2005, the 2009 Driftwood Pavilion was larger than human scale.

di_20090903-044950-driftwoodpavilion.JPG

Research at the Wellcome Library took much of the Thursday.  Registration requires issuing a card to access the reading rooms.  Then, in the special archives room, we consulted the indexes to make requests for specific packages to be brought up from storage.  After lunch, the librarians walked us through how original handwritten documents are to be handled.  Gary sorted through the records, and I transcribed key passages onto the computer.

di_20090903-050524-wellcomecollection.JPG

Reading the 1957-58 list of fellows visiting at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, we found some notable names beside John Bowlby, including David EastonMilton FriedmanTalcott ParsonsIthiel de Sola PoolBruce QuarringtonClaude ShannonRobert SolowGeorge Stigler and John Tukey.  I was amused at a letter about a “laissez-faire tennis match”.  The Bowlby archives included handwritten letters home and to colleagues.

Gary uncovered a lead to proceedings of World Health Organization meetings between 1953 and 1956, where John Bowlby participated in meetings in Ludwig von Bertalanffy.  This was irrefutable evidence of ties to the systems community, facts in the resulting report on “John Bowlby – Rediscovering a systems scientist“.

By late afternoon, we had exhausted the Bowlby archives.  Gary and I relaxed on the train from London Kings Cross up to York, where Jennifer picked us up.

di_20090903-133150-firstgreatwestern-train-gsm.JPG

Most of the Friday was taken up with research discussions with the Centre for Systems Studies at Hull University.

The late afternoon afforded us sufficient daylight for sightseeing in York.  Many of the shops in The Shambles were closing, as we toured.

di_20090904-131542-shambles.JPG

We concluded the evening with an Indian dinner as Saffron Desi, where the bread (nan) is served hanging on a rack.

di_20090904-145348-saffrondesiresto-nan.JPG

Gary left on the early Saturday morning train to return home.  I hung out for another day, trailing Jennifer and Amanda in their shopping.  This happened to be one of the days of the York Festival of Traditional Dance, where groups of Morris Dancers were performing all over town.

On the Sunday, I was back on the train to London, and over to Heathrow to catch a plane.  Instead of flying westwards towards home, however, I was destined eastward back to Helsinki for another 5 days around the university.

[Start a large-image lightbox screen show over this blog post (in a supported browser)]

[See the London South Bank album of 9 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the Chinatown Tavistock album of 30 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the Bowlby interview album of 3 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the Green Templeton College album of 10 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the Oxford album of 67 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the Euston-Russell Square album of 53 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the Hull album of 7 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the York album of 54 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

[See the York Traditional Dance album of 36 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

Saffron Desi on Urbanspoon

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Causal Texture of the Environment
      For those who haven’t read the 1965 Emery and Trist article, its seems as though my colleague Doug McDavid was foresighted enough to blog a summary in 2016!  His words have always welcomed here, as Doug was a cofounder of this web site.  At the time of writing, the target audience for this piece was […]
    • Causal texture, contextualism, contextural
      In the famous 1965 Emery and Trist article, the terms “causal texture” and “contextual environment” haven’t been entirely clear to me.  With specific meanings in the systems thinking literature, looking up definitions in the dictionary generally isn’t helpful.  Diving into the history of the uses of the words provides some insight. 1. Causal texture 2. […]
    • Trist in Canada, Organizational Change, Action Learning
      Towards appreciating “action learning”, the history of open systems thinking and pioneering work in organization science, the influence of Action Learning Group — in the Faculty of Environment Studies founded in 1968 at York University (Toronto) — deserves to be resurfaced. 1. Trist in Canada 2. Environmental studies, and contextualism in organizational-change 3. Action learning, […]
    • Remembering Doug McDavid
      The news that Doug McDavid — my friend, colleague, and one of the original cofounders of the Coevolving Innovations web site in 2006 — had passed, first came through mutual IBM contacts.  More details subsequently showed up on LinkedIn from Mike McClintock. Doug left us on May 9, while working at his desk, likely in […]
    • Pattern language, form language, general systems theory, R-theory
      One of the challenges with the development of pattern languages is the cross-appropriation of approaches of techniques from one domain (i.e. built physical environments) into others (e.g. software development, social change). The distinction between pattern language and form language is made by Nikos Salingaros. Design in architecture and urbanism is guided by two distinct complementary […]
    • How do Systems Changes become natural practice?
      The 1995 article by Spinosa, Flores & Dreyfus on “Disclosing New Worlds” was assigned reading preceding the fourth of four lectures for the Systemic Design course in the Master’s program in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University.  In previous years, this topic was a detail practically undiscussed, as digging into social theory and the phenomenology […]
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
    • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
      It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
    • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
      The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
    • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
      While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
    • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
      Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • 
  • moments. daviding.com

    Random selections from the past year
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal