Author Archives: Maris Palmi

‘Kann Kunst Gesellschaft verändern? Eine Reise auf den Spuren von Beuys und Böll.’

Another event coming up in Germany from 23-25 April

‘Kann Kunst Gesellschaft verändern? Eine Reise auf den Spuren von Beuys und Böll.’

Wolfgang Zumdick and Markus Schäfer will share two days with participants of the Heinrich Böll Foundation to discover the traces of Beuys and Böll at Düsseldorf and Cologne. Only in German!

For more information have a look at our Facebook page or here:…/fil…/1702-15_beuys_und_boell.pdf

Shelley Sacks in Kassel

For our German friends: join us at this talk with Shelley Sacks in Kassel!

‘Social Sculpture and Eco-Citizenship: Shaping a Culture of Connectedness’ is hosted by Transition Town Kassel and will take place at the Kunsthochschule on Friday 10 April from 7:30 pm.

Have a look at our Facebook page or at the event page for more information.




Oxford Brookes University, Saturday 22 November from 10am – 6pm.

In the field of social sculpture, we explore forms of agency and ways of working towards a ‘humane and ecologically viable future’: ways that highlight the capacities of every human being to respond creatively to the challenges of shaping our own lives, of living with others and of responding to many other forms of the ecological crisis. This transformative impulse can manifest in the world in many different ways.

One of these ways is referred to as activism.

Despite the plurality of approaches in this movement, activists describe modes of thinking and acting that sometimes constrain more than they enable. What might a social sculpture point of view have to contribute to this field, and vice versa? Could we imagine an ‘expanded’ understanding of activism, which increases the potential forms of engagement, recognising that we share this world with a great diversity of people who carry a multitude of cultural forms? How can we begin to ‘care at a distance’ and respond in ways that correspond with our individual capacities, to that which can seem distant, geographically, personally and culturally?

In this forum we will enter these questions together and look at examples of people’s work and experience. You are invited to reflect on what these issues mean to you, and participate in this open exploration and dialogue. If you would like to share an example or brief ‘case study’, please send us a message to discuss the envisaged form and length of your input.


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.

EARTH FORUM with Shelley Sacks at GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Colloquium in Burgenland, Austria

EARTH FORUM with Shelley Sacks at GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Colloquium at Europahaus in Burgenland, Austria. 10 – 12 November 2014. The closing event with Shelley and Hans Göttel is a SOCIAL SCULPTURE FORUM on ‘Werk und Handwerk der Lehrer’

The colloquium is in German only.

It is subtitled: Zu kosmopolitischen Dimensionen des Globalen Lernens. For more information see


What is Social Sculpture? Talk by Dr. Wolfgang Zumdick

What is Social Sculpture? Talk by Dr. Wolfgang Zumdick (Social Sculpture Research Unit), facilitated by artist Fern Thomas at Beuys Pavilion @ Barrack Ln, Cardiff, CF10 2FR on Saturday 1st November from 2pm. Fern Thomas, an MA Social Sculpture graduate, is currently Researcher in Residence at the Social Sculpture Research Unit.

Includes a screening of Joseph Beuys’ Public Dialogue by Willoughby Sharp. 1974, 120:15 min, b&w, sound.

Further information:


Shelley Sacks at ‘The Sculpture Question’ conference at the Folkestone Triennial

On Sunday 2 November, Shelley Sacks will be speaking at ‘The Sculpture Question’ conference at the Folkestone Triennial. She is on a panel responding to a talk by Mary Jane Jacob.

For full details of programme that also includes Nicolas Bourriaud see

Shelley is also contributing to Rebound: The Sculpture Question Colloquium (in Folkestone and Canterbury from 29-31 October) which explores the role of research and teaching in the context of current art school / art university institutional models.For info and to confirm attendance contact Amie Rai at


UOT and Shelley Sacks in Kassel

For all our Friends in Kassel:

Shelley Sacks will be there from 23-29 August to further develop a multi-layered Agenda for Transformative Action in the context of the University of the Trees!

UoT in Kassel

Everyone who has been involved in Earth Forum, the UoT group and local initiatives as well as newcomers are warmly invited to join us in the following programme:

Saturday 23/8 at 1pm
Shelley offers an Earth Forum for ‘beginners’ who would like to join the deepening EF training.

Monday 25/8 and Tuesday 26/8 from 10 am to 5:30 pm
Deepening Earth Forum training.

Wednesday 27/8 and Thursday 28/8 from 10 am – 6 pm
AGENDA for TRANSFOMATIVE ACTION and field-sensing.
Facilitated by Shelley Sacks, with Wolfgang Zumdick and Karsten Winnemuth.

Click here for further details (in German only).

Location: Werkstatt Kassel, Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 175, 34119 Kassel + Aschrottpark

For more information and to confirm your place write to or call 0049(0)15739197490!

Both processes are free, but contributions to cover travel costs etc. would be welcome.


on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EDT (New York) / 5:00 p.m. London Time
TOPIC:  Art, Social Sculpture and Creating a Sustainable World
ABOUT: We’ll explore with Shelley Sacks how socially engaged artistic processes can help individuals and communities find new ways of engaging with the world to create a more sustainable future. Plus, we’ll find out more […]

Exploring Anti-Capitalist Practice

Can anyone be anti-capitalist, what does anti-capitalist even mean, why have an anti-capitalist practice at all?
Join us at Modern Art Oxford for a joint exploration of what is meant by anti-capitalist practice.
The day will consist of guided discussions using a participatory format, and with reading material to hand, to allow anyone who wants to join […]

Exploring Anti-Capitalist Practice

Date: 2014 March 22

Venue: Modern Art Oxford

Time: 11 – 6

Entry free. All welcome.

Can anyone be anti-capitalist, what does anti-capitalist even mean, why have an anti-capitalist practice at all? Join us at Modern Art Oxford for a joint exploration of what is meant by anti-capitalist practice – we’ll be looking at personal experiences, case studies and a little bit of theory. This is a group for everyone who feels they are in some way active in working toward an alternative to capitalism.



The Art of Change-making – Invitation to apply

‘The Art of Change-making’ is a 10-day Erasmus funded exploratory programme in Amsterdam, April 2014. 
The Social Sculpture Research Unit is one of the three organisations and institutes planning and facilitating the programme. Each of the three participating institutions/organisations is able to bring 10 people. Altogether there will be 30 participants and 6 – 8 facilitators/staff-participants.
The 10 ‘social […]

Dates for forthcoming Social Sculpture Initiative Fora

The second Social Sculpture Initiative Forum took place on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at Oxford Brookes University.
The rich substance brought into the room by each of the participants generated lively discussions, questions and ideas, and enabled new connections within the community. It confirmed the value of such forums as generative arenas for thought exchange and […]

New SSRU ‘Researcher-in-Residence’

We are pleased to announce our second ‘researcher-in-residence’, Sarah Thorne! (Last year Janhavi Dhamankar was with us from India, for 6 months.)
The SSRU core group has invited her to explore the field of Basic Income and its intimate connection with the sense in which ‘Every Human Being is an Artist’.
During the coming 6 -12 month period, […]

Installation: “Ways through Stone: Material as a Gateway to other forms of Knowing”

2014 January 2 – 3 March
Oxford Brookes University, Glass Tank

The installation Ways through Stone by Claudia D. Schluermann is the arena for a social sculpture workshop process that engages with the material “stone” as a gateway to other forms of knowing. The aim of the workshops is to access insights into the nature of imagination and the transformative potential of art processes. The installation consists of a “flow” of Cotswold limestone that follows the exact direction of the geological formation deep down under our feet, and which runs diagonally to the ground plan of the Gallery. A series of stepping-stones lead to an intimate space framed by walls surfaced in carded white wool, which create the shelter for a single sculpted stone. Sixteen wooden stools invite visitors to contemplate their connection with and understanding of the material forms. The table at the opposite end to the shelter holds three books, which present different aspects of the artist’s engagement with stone.

There are a few spaces available on the one-day workshop processes on 27, 28 and 29 January 2014 (from 10 am to 5 pm).

Please contact:



Great news! The ‘Atlas of the Poetic Continent’ by Shelley Sacks and Wolfgang Zumdick (English version) is now published.
Excerpt from introductory text: ‘We live on a planet with many continents, continents that we inhabit in countless different ways. But there is another continent not visible to the naked eye. An often unrecognised continent: the poetic continent.’
‘The places of […]

University of the Trees as part of the field of Social Sculpture

2014 May 14 -16, Weekend Workshop, Emerson College, Forest Row, UK

‘Social Art: Listening to the Future and Connective Practice’ 

Shelley Sacks and Wolfgang Zumdick will run a social sculpture – connective practices programme at Emerson College. It includes two lectures: one on Friday evening by Shelley Sacks – and one on Saturday evening by Wolfgang Zumdick. Shelley will introduce the field of Social Sculpture with her lecture ‘Social Art: Listening to the Future and Connective Practice’. Wolfgang will speak on the connections between Steiner and Beuys – and how their ideas inform the field of social sculpture now.


On Saturday during the day, Shelley and Wolfgang will involve all workshop participants in a number of ‘connective, social sculpture practices’. Past and current Emerson students will participate and assist them with this.

These practices will highlight connections between Steiner and Joseph Beuys and how their vision of ‘social art’ or ‘social sculpture’ is being taken forward and explored through projects like University of the Trees and in the teaching programmes of the Social Sculpture Research Unit.


Wolfgang Zumdick’s lecture on Saturday night will be followed by a one hour reading from Shelley and Wolfgang’s new book ­– ATLAS of the Poetic Continent: Pathways to Ecological Citizenship published by Temple Lodge. (See

Following the reading, Shelley and Wolfgang will be available to participate in discussion about aspects of the book.

On Sunday morning from 9:30 – 12:30 we will continue our exploration of the field of social sculpture through University of the Trees and its practices, with another ‘connective practice’.


An aim of this weekend programme is to introduce contemporary developments in ‘social art’ or ‘social sculpture’ that enhance each individual’s current practice and stimulate impulses for new ways forward and some understanding of ‘connective practices’.

The programme fee for the weekend is £100 / 75 for alumni.

Accommodation and meals are available on request for an additional amount.

The course takes place in the beautiful grounds and buildings of Emerson College in Forest Row, Sussex.

The programme is open to the public as well as to Emerson students.



Phone: +44 (0)1342 822238

The booking form can be downloaded from

‘Art of Changemaking’ Camp

2014 April 5-17, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Erasmus programme across 4 institutions, including Changemakers, Amsterdam; Cork Institute of Technology; and Social Sculpture Research Unit.

Venue: Knowmads, Amsterdam

12 students and co-workers from each institution will participate