• '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

Still under development, but soon to be completed. Thank you for your patience!

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.

It is coordinated by Shelley Sacks and supported by a core group of staff – Wolfgang Zumdick, Hildegard Kurt and Walter Kugler and research-project assistants – Maris Palmi, Sophie Millner-Aldrovandi, Markus Stefan and Annelinde Kirchgaesser. Research Associates and advisors include Chris Seeley, Enno Schmidt, Graham van Wyk, Maritta Kochweser, Jane Rendell, Stephanie Fuller, Alex Arteaga and Volker Harlan.

It has links with Oxford Brookes University’s Institute for Sustainable Development / Greenmuseum / Citizens Art Days (Berlin) / und-Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability / Exeter University’s Geography Department / the Free International University (FIU Verlag) / Cultura 21 (C21) / Omnibus for Direct Democracy / the Basic Income Network (Switzerland) / several European and International Permaculture Groups / the OYA magazine, publishers and community / the 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.

  • News

    WordPress Wizard Needed

    The SSRU needs a WordPress wizard to assist with the SSRU site, in particular, to restructure using new versions of WP.
    This cannot be done automatically without losing functionality.
    So, if you want to share your wizardry and support the SSRU now, perhaps even on a more ongoing basis, please contact Maris Palmi to discuss.
    Email: maris.palmi-2012@brookes.ac.uk

    ... more

    University of the Trees and Earth Forum -Ireland

    [ October 3 to October 5. ] IRELAND
    Introduction to Earth Forum and University of the Trees at the Dear Earth Conference from the 3rd – 5th October 2014 in Scariff, Co. Clare, Ireland.

    The DEAR EARTH Conference event is for people who want to deepen their relationship with the EARTH – finding a way to live in a connective, non-exploitative way with the [...]

    ... more
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  • SSRU Events

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