Many of the most urgent challenges that designers face are those concerning the complex socio-technical and ecological systems with which design is inevitably intertwined. Ben's work is part of the resurgence of cybernetics and systems thinking in design in response to these challenges, continuing a longstanding tradition in these fields of both interdisciplinary research and active engagement with the arts and architecture.
Ben's work includes a variety of historical and theoretical projects, including:
- Archival research on the collaboration between the cybernetician Gordon Pask and architect Cedric Price on the Fun Palace during the 1960s, presented at the 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennale. This work was undertaken as Mellon Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (2014-2016), funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Theoretical work on the relationship between cybernetics and practice, especially its relationship to design and ethics. This has led to publications in the journals Kybernetes, Cybernetics and Human Knowing and Constructivist Foundations.
- Editorial work, co-guest editing a number of journal special issues. These include the 2015 Composing Conferences issue of Constructivist Foundations, co-guest edited with Michael Hohl (Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Dessau, Germany), which explored alternatives to the traditional format of academic conferences.
Ben is a regular contributor to the Relating Systems Thinking and Design conference series and a member of the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC). He was awarded the Heinz von Foerster Award by the ASC in 2014, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Nominating Committee for the society.