Earth Forum in Dresden:  4-6 September 2015

University of the Trees has been invited to introduce Earth Forum in Dresden. The first Earth Forum event on Friday 4 September is open to all.

If you would like to participate please contact Dirk Lehmann

Earth Forum training
This will be followed by a 2-day intensive training [Sat 5 and Sun 6 Sept] to enable people to begin to guide an Earth Forum process themselves. Some of those trained this September in Dresden will guide Earth Forum processes at a festival in Dresden in October 2015.

EF Bonn June 2014 cafe [training]

Earth Forum is one of the social sculpture processes or ‘modules’ in University of the Trees. Over 120 people have been trained in the Earth Forum process in Germany, UK, South Africa, India and China.

Shelley Sacks, Markus Stefan and Annelinde Kirchgaesser from the UOT core group will offer this training.

SSRU Staff and Research Associates in EVOLVE magazine

In German only
Shelley Sacks and Wolfgang Zumdick in EVOLVE on Lebendigkeit: VOl 11, July 2016.
Full text in German
Press release
See Wolfgang Zumdick’s review of the new book by biologist Andreas Weber. Wolfgang’s review is in the current issue of EVOLVE magazine. The full text of the review – in German – is here.
evolve07_Zwischen den Zeilen_Zumdick_Weber
Other SSRU […]

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.

University of the Trees and Earth Forum -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 planet we inhabit, and to further develop as human beings.

Shelley Sacks is running an Earth Forum, giving a talk on Social Sculpture and helping to initiate the first University of the Trees – Social Sculpture academy group in Ireland.

She joins a great line up of people giving talks and workshops at this event. One of these is Michael Schmidt – Farmer and raw milk Campaigner from Toronto, Canada. Ian Castles – co organiser of the conference and social sculpture practitioner – will present his sound chair.

For full programme see:

Free Tickets
Young people between 18 – 30 come and get involved in exchange for a free ticket – we need creative helpers!

UNIVERSITY OF THE TREES – a participatory, international, social sculpture exploring appropriate action through new ways of perceiving our relationship to the world – will be happening for people living in East Clare on Sunday 5th October at 2.30pm as an extra event after Dear Earth Conference. So East Clare will have its own University of the Trees.

Dear Earth Conference is an interactive conference of talks, workshops, music and sharing cafe for people who wish to deepen their relationship with the Earth.


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 […]

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, […]


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 […]


‘Die rote Blume’ by Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt is now published!
How can the destructive forces in contemporary culture be transformed into a culture of resilience?
This is a central question in the new book ‘Die rote Blume’ by Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt. It is published in German by thinkOya and was released in November 2013.
‘Soziale […]