• 'Aesthetic' understood as the opposite of 'anaesthetic' or numbness has to do with enlivened being and connective practiceShelley Sacks
  • Every new object, clearly seen, opens up a new organ of perception in us.Goethe
  • Sustainability without the I-sense is non-sense!Shelley Sacks
  • Every human being is an artist, a freedom being, called to participate in transforming and reshaping the conditions, thinking and structures that shape and inform our livesJoseph Beuys
  • There is only one field of transformation, and no-one is outsideShelley Sacks

Welcome to the platform for the Social Sculpture Research Unit (SSRU) and wider social sculpture network

Beuys, Transdisciplinarity and a Sustainable Future

The SSRU encourages and explores transdisciplinary creativity and vision towards the shaping of a humane and ecologically viable society. It engages with Beuys thinking and work, as well as those before and after him – making available some of the insights, inquiries and explorations in this multidimensional field.

Connective Aesthetics and Agents of Change

Our work as agents of change includes a focus on connective practices, which explore the role of imagination and other modes of thought in transformative process. Informed by an expanded conception of art, we are active both within and beyond the sphere of art.

Social Sculpture: ‘Another world is possible’

Our territory and practices are wide and varied because social sculpture has to do with exploring new values, new forms of thinking and new ways of being in the world.

Connective Practice towards Social and Ecological Justice

Linking artists, activists, projects, members of the public and researchers from various practices, thought spaces, and regions of the world, the SSRU creates opportunities for dialogue processes, transdisciplinary research and connective practices that contribute to creative transformation, social and ecological justice and the shaping of a humane and non-exploitative world.

  • James Reed/SSRU: Agents of Change
  • Ruth Harvey-Regan -'Workplace', Switzerland
  • Wolfgang Zumdick - Changing One's Mind[set] 2010
  • Mind[set] Workshop - Australia, 2010
  • Earth Forum, South Africa 2011
  • University of the Trees - Tree Action -Kassel, 2012
  • University of the Trees- Berlin, Launch Event, 2011

Participation and Dialogue

We hope you will contribute to the field by participating in the events and activities of the Social Sculpture Research Unit and its related projects. These can be found on this site and also via the Social Sculpture Research Unit Facebook group. There is also an Opportunities section on this site, which describes several ways that you can get actively involved.

Transdisciplinary Research at Oxford Brookes University

The SSRU is a transdisciplinary research unit based in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England

Its patrons are Caroline Tisdall and Johannes Stuettgen.

Prof. Shelley Sacks and Dr. Wolfgang Zumdick are its core staff, supported by a group of Doctoral Researchers and Research Associates, including Prof. Walter Kugler, Enno Schmidt, Prof. Alex Arteaga, Dr. Graham van Wyk, Stephanie Fuller, Prof. Jane Rendell, Dr. Maritta Kochweser and Dr. Volker Harlan. The SSRU is supported by research-project assistants – Maris Palmi, Markus Stefan and Annelinde Kirchgaesser and recent Researchers-in-Residence: Janhavi Dhamankar (Pune, India); Dr. Sophie Millner-Aldrovandi (Dublin); and Sarah Thorne (UK).

It has links with Oxford Brookes University’s Institute for Sustainable Development / Greenmuseum / Citizens Art Days (Berlin) / Basic Income Network (UK) / Transition Towns and Edible City (Kassel) / Making a Difference, Asia (Hong Kong) / Iona Stichting (Amsterdam) / Geography Department, Exeter University / Free International University (FIU Verlag) / Centre for Art and Social Practice (Mumbai/ Kolkota) / Alanus University, Art in Dialogue Programme / Cultura 21 (C21) / und-Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability / Emerson College (UK) / Omnibus for Direct Democracy / Democracy in Motion / Basic Income Network (Switzerland) / Ecoarts Network / Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Natural World (UK) / World Banana Forum / Summerhall (Edinburgh) / Demarco European Art Foundation / several European and International Permaculture Groups / Ecoartspace / OYA magazine, publishers and community / University of the Trees – Earth Forum network / and through our postgraduate programmes – to the Bauhaus, Weimar.

Oxford Brookes is the first university to develop opportunities for international research and study programmes in Social Sculpture, as well as providing a base for a reflective practice-based social sculpture community.