News and Events 2011

2011 December 8, London, UK
COYOTE-ACTION II – in dialogue with Elk, Coyote and Beuys
Shelley Sacks at the Large Glass, London – to mark the end of the exhibition of images by Caroline Tisdall of her photographs of Beuys‘ Coyote action.


2011 November 17–18, University of Exeter, UK
University of the Trees – Introducing Earth Forum and other connective practices. Shelley Sacks in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World


2011 October, South Africa
EARTH FORUM (University of the Trees)
in collaboration with the CopArt Climate Train for the Climate Summit in Durban. Facilitated by Dylan McGarry and a team of “responsible participants” in training.


2011 October 16, Berlin, Germany
EARTH FORUM (University of the Trees)
Hildegard Kurt and Shelley Sacks introduce the Earth Forum process.


2011 October 15, Bonn, Germany
EARTH FORUM (University of the Trees)
Shelley Sacks and Wolfgang Zumdick facilitate an Earth Forum process as part of the Green Party “Denkfabrik” Congress.


2011 October 11, LONDON, UK
COYOTE-ACTION Shelley Sacks in dialogue with Beuys and beings of the other than human world.
At the Large Glass, Caledonian Road, London. An event to coincide with the opening of Caroline Tisdall‘s images of Joseph Beuys‘ “I Like America and America Likes Me” action.


2011 September 24–26
Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt present University of the Trees as part of the C21 Annual Congress.


2011 September, Fachhochschule Ottersberg, Germany
Public lecture by Wolfgang Zumdick: “Anthroposophische Tendenzen in der Gegenwartskunst”


2011 July 10–22, Oxford, UK
AGENTS OF CHANGE – Summer School
2 week programme led by Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt.


2011 June, Vienna, Austria
Metroverlag Wien, Publication of second edition of guidebook “Rudolf Steiner in Wien” by Wolfgang Zumdick


2011 May 31, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
University of the Trees and Eco-Citizenship in the Ueber Lebenskunst Klub
Shelley Sacks will launch the University of the Trees – Berlin with a workshop process that is part of the Ueber Lebenskunst programme.

“BORN TO BE WILD” – Wann wird Utopie Wirklichkeit?
Diesmal befasst sich der Klub mit der These, dass ein grundlegender gesellschaftlicher und kultureller Wandel nur über eine fundamental veränderte Wahrnehmung möglich ist. Die Künstlerin Shelley Sacks führt daher bereits um 14 Uhr in den Tiergarten, wo sie ihre „University of the Trees“ eröffnet. Michiko Nitta und Susanna Hertrich von der ÜBER LEBENSKUNST Initiative „Berliner Wildes Leben“ präsentieren im zweiten Workshop (wie gewohnt ab 16 Uhr) ihre Vorstellungen von „spekulativem Design“ zum Thema Wildtiere in der Stadt. In der offenen Klubsitzung um 18.00 Uhr diskutieren: Matthew Herbert, Heike Langsdorf, Christiane Huber und Shelley Sacks.


2011 April – May, Zuerich, Switzerland
Exchange Values on the table: Images of Invisible Lives is now at the Voegele Kultur Zentrum – where it is a central part of “Going Bananas” a multidisciplinary exhibition on Bananas and Global Trade.

This is Exchange Values‘ 12th venue since it began in 1996 – although it now includes a 5m round table, at which organised social sculpture forums take place. About 30 people can come together at a time. In the first week of the project – Shelley Sacks facilitated 4 forums. One of these was for 35 teachers and lecturers, and another for members of the public that included the CEO of Chiquita and the legendary banana woman, Ursula Brunner, who in the 70s began the Fairtrade movement. Shelley is currently developing a booklet for teachers to use in schools, and for people who want to become facilitators of social sculpture processes.


2011 May
Earth Forum for the 2011 Climate Summit
Earth Forum is a new collaborative social sculpture process, developed by the SSRU for the Climate Fluency Exchange, South Africa. It involves a number of social sculpture processes which will take place in South Africa in the lead up to the Climate Summit in December 2011. The first process – in May 2011 – brings together government officials, Shell bosses and other stakeholders in a reflective-imaginative process that explores the effects of ‚fracking‘ for gas. Earth Forum, funded by the British Council and the Commonwealth Institute, is collaboration with the Sustaining Commons Institute at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa and the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Brookes.

In May, Shelley will begin training a small team of facilitators in South Africa to lead the Earth Forum processes themselves. In July, Shelley will present a paper at an international Arts and Sustainability conference in Grahamstown, funded by the Commonwealth Institute.


2011 May, Berlin, Germany
University of the Trees – Berlin
At the end of May, Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt, assisted by ex Brookes students will launch the UOT-Berlin with a social sculpture process in Berlin‘s renowned Tiergarten. This event is part of the Ueberlebenskunst project of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Shelley will also give a short talk to the 350 person Uberlebenskunst Klub, in response to the theme “What will we do when we have reached utopia?” The Tiergarten, opposite the Reichstag, will be the arena for the first 20 University of the Trees tree-bands that declare a city to be a Univeristy of the Trees. An additional “instrument of conciousness” object is being created for this event. The object reads: Nachhaltigkeit ohne Ich-Sinn ist Unsinn! (Sustainability without the ‚I‘-sense [or active individual consciousness] is non-sense). Future University of the Trees events in Berlin in the autumn will focus on ‚soil‘ and the connection between humus and humanness – as explored by Hildegard Kurt in her recent Agents of Change lecture at Brookes.


2011 April
University of the Trees [UOT] workshops in Exeter
Shelley led two UOT workshops that explored key UOT methodologies and principles. Hosted by the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World [CCANW] the first event was for 20 students and staff of the MA Art and Environment program at Falmouth; the second day was for 20 artists, curators and activists. The very positive response from all present at both events is helpful as the workshops were testing methods that will form part of the UOT‘s new “handbook”.

These two workshops are the first in a series of UOT events to be hosted by CCANW throughout this summer as part of their “Tree Culture” exhibitions and events.


2011 April 1, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany
Talk by Wolfgang Zumdick as part of symposium “Kreativität und Kunst”, on the occasion of exhibition “Kosmos Rudolf Steiner” 


2011 February, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
Public lecture by Wolfgang Zumdick: “Aesthetic education and poetic imagination: key tools for social and ecological change”


2011 February, Darmstadt, Germany
Darmstaetter Sezession: Public lecture: by Wolfgang Zumdick: “Zum Menschenbild in der Gegenwart”


2011 January – March
AGENTS OF CHANGE: Ecological Citizenship and The Art of Changing One‘s Mind(set) Interdisciplinary Symposia – Participatory Seminars – Dialogue Processes

Friday 4 February
Dr. Maritta Koch-Weser: Re-thinking Sustainability: New directions for Rio+20?

Friday 18 February
Allan Kaplan: Taking Goethe seriously – stretching our thinking

Monday 21 February
Dr. Wolfgang Zumdick: Aesthetic Education and Poetic Imagination: key tools for social and ecological change

Friday 4 March
Prof. Dr. Alex Arteaga: Knowledge as process of transformation… and how aesthetic practice can contribute to it

Friday 18 March
A one-day symposium and dialogue process with contributions from 3 leading figures in the field of arts and sustainability – Arran Stibbe, Hildegard Kurt and Peter Gingold

Dr. Arran Stibbe: Ecological citizenship and the Arts

Dr. Hildegard Kurt: What has sustainability got to do with an expanded understanding of art?

Peter Gingold: Tipping Point: facilitating collaboration between artists and climate experts

These lectures, seminars, workshops and 1-day symposia are hosted by the Social Sculpture Research Unit; the Arts, Culture, Sustainability OBU university – wide research forum and ARP – the Arts Practice Research cluster at Oxford Brookes.


2011 January 13, Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany
Guided tour by Wolfgang Zumdick: „Zum Herzdenken bei Joseph Beuys“


2011 Hochschule Rhein Waal, Kleve, Germany
Public lecture by Wolfgang Zumdick: “Sinneswahrnehmung und Gesundheit”


2011 Niggli press, Bern, Swizerland
Release of “Architekturfuehrer Goetheanumhuegel”
(First major publication about anthroposophical architecture in Dornach/Arlesheim, Switzerland) Key Essay: Die Entwicklung anthroposophischer Architektur in Dornach und Umgebung im Kontext der Zeitgeschichte


SSRU Research Associates:

Hildegard Kurt has recently run a 3-day seminar on climate change, sustainability and social sculpture for the Austrian ministry of education, art and culture. A dialogue between Hildegard Kurt and Shelley Sacks on “social sculpture today” will be published in the July ‚arts and society‘ edition of Oya – a new German journal for culture and sustainability. It also contains a guest essay by Hildegard focusing on ways of defining the “artist” appropriate to a sustainable future.


Wolfgang Zumdick has been asked to write about the Masters in Social Sculpture programme for a German cultural journal – Die Drei. Oxford Brookes‘ Interdisciplinary Arts programme also featured in his recent public lecture at the Stuttgart National Gallery on the work of Joseph Beuys and Rudolf Steiner. Wolfgang‘s recent literary monograph celebrating 150 Rudolf Steiner‘s centenary, is now in its second edition.


Shelley Sacks has a chapter in a new publication on Joseph Beuys and social sculpture, edited by Ulster‘s Head of Research, Mia Lerm-Hayes. Shelley‘s text is entitled: “Social Sculpture and New Organs of Perception: New practices and new pedagogy for a humane and ecologically viable future”. The book – “Beuysian Legacies” is now available. A new book entitled Art and Sustainability – Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity by Sacha Kagan profiles Shelley‘s social sculpture work.


New SSRU collaborations:

Recent meetings between the SSRU and the Citizenship Foundation were very productive. Sophie Milner, who is writing up her PhD in the field of citizenship practices at Bradford‘s Peace Studies centre, has begun work on a number of funding applications – which will be partnered by the Citizenship Foundation. One aspect of this work will be to explore how the phenomenological ideas and practices in the UOT can be used in NGOs and schools.


SSRU Alumni James Reed‘s Agents of Change – Climate Change kit is a key “workshop” in the Portland State University Open Engagement Art and Social Engagement Conference. It will take place in May 2011, in Portland Oregon, USA. Since completing his MA in Social Sculpture, James has lectured on Social Sculpture in a number of US and South African universities and the Agents of Change kit has been part of several eco-art / art and sustainability shows in the USA – including Exit Arts (NY) and Intersection for the Arts (SF).,


Deborah Ravetz has extended her final project for her Masters in Social Sculpture – “Becoming a Self in the World” – with REOS, for an international group of “change management” consultants. Her work for REOS has led to someone who participated in her workshop from NERC – the National Energy Research Centre – enrolling for the MA in Social Sculpture.


SSRU PhD student Jo Thomas has recently been awarded another Arts Council grant. This time for £29,500 – towards organisational development for Figure Ground – the artist led organisation that she co-initiated. The funding will also be used to develop public events and artist‘s residencies in participatory and public art practices.