Workshop Participants

In addition to the participatory practices and many training events that are an integral part of our social sculpture projects like Earth Forum and University of the Trees, the Social Sculpture Research Unit has also run many ‘agents of change’ workshops and summer schools over the past 10 years, sometimes working in collaboration with other groups and organisations.

The workshops – lasting between one day and two weeks – have offered participants an opportunity to engage with the social sculpture ideas and practices, whilst continuing their work in their organisations and home contexts.

It is great to see how these relatively brief but intensive contacts evolve and continue to have an effect when people return home. One participant, Janhavi Dhamankhar, clarified the proposal for her MPhil in Belgium through one of these workshops. Two years later she became the SSRU’s first ‘researcher-in-residence’. Now she is back in India, writing on social sculpture and phenomenology and facilitating the development of a University of the Trees group in India. The story is similar with many other workshop participants – including Stephen Dahlberg, Lara Kruger, Mareen Scholl and Stephanie Cheung.

Workshops of the SSRU include:


Organised by Oxford Brookes University, School of Arts with the SSRU, Oxford

Participants: Kathy Herbert (Ireland), Stephanie Cheung (China), Fazette Bordage (France), Crystal Chan (China), Silvi Guillen (Spain), Benjamin Degenhart (Germany), Nina Sakri (UAE/France), Mareen Scholl (Germany), Natalia Ernstman (Holland), Jasmine Cargill (Denmark/New Zealand), Will McCallum (UK), Christina Lehrmann (Germany), Helena Fox (UK), Wil Uitgeest (Holland).

Tutors: Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt

Visiting speakers: Peter Gingold (Tipping Point), Rachel Stancliffe (Centre for Sustainable Healthcare), George Marshall (COIN – Climate Outreach and Information Network), Lucy Ford (Environmental Justice – Oxford Brookes), Mark Chater (Citizenship)


Organised and sponsored by RMIT – Melbourne and Social Sculpture Forum – Melbourne

This 6-day workshop for 60 participants at RMIT in Melbourne extended over a two-week period, from 10-20 June 2010. PDF

Participants included Masters and PhD Students from the Arts Department at RMIT, independent artists, NGO activists, community activists and researchers, change management consultants, theologians, school teachers, coaching consultants, environmentalists.

Tutors: Shelley Sacks and Wolfgang Zumdick

Introduction and hosting: David Thomas Session on Social Enterprise Ian George


Workshop for 12 participants in Achberg, Germany, 27 – 30 December 2009

Participants: Ulrike Wohlgemuth, Sabine Agricola, Christine Hahn, Alfred Groff, Viola Schultz-Mattusch, Ester Hirschi, Hannes Heil, Irmgard Herzog, Eberhard Schumacher, Annette Woelfle, Andreas Mayer-Brennstuhl

Tutors: Shelley Sacks and Rainer Rappmann


Surrounded by a classical heritage that included Goethe and Schiller, the modernist experiments of the Bauhaus and the political typography of both left and right wing Germany – Shelley Sacks joined Hildegard Kurt each summer from 2004 to 2009 to run a programme: From Goethe, Schiller and the Bauhaus to Social Sculpture. Subtitled The Shaping of Humane Societies as an Aesthetic Challenge these intensive 2 week programmes included participants from more than 30 countries who had come together to explore ideas and strategies for working toward an ecologically viable and humane society and the relation of this to an expanded conception of art.

The collaboration between Sacks (SSRU) and Kurt (und-Institut) brought together Kurt’s theoretical work on ‘modernism’ and ‘art and sustainability’ with Sacks’ Bauhaus background and developments in the field of social sculpture. This included creative strategies developed by Sacks over several decades in her own practice, in NGO work, and in university programmes, first in South Africa and later in the UK. Many of the creative strategies practiced in these courses were developed in projects like Exchange Values (1996 ongoing) and Thought Banks (1994) as well as in the interdisciplinary programme at Nottingham Trent University (1992 -1997) and then later in the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford (since 1998).

Participants in the programmes include: Steve Dahlberg (USA), Heidrun Filous (Germany), Maria Medevedeva (Rumania), Yochai Abrahami (Israel), Liza Behrendt (USA), Scherwin Farridnejad (Iran), Pjotr Knas (Poland), Sladjana Radulovic (Belgrade, Serbia), Isabella Pitisci (Belgium/UK), Yulia Blynskaya (Rumania), Sebastian Halle (Germany), Rustem Azamat (Rumania), Michael Preis (Germany), Katrin Ritter (Germany), Franz-Josef Schneider (Germany), Elena Cologni (Georgia), Viola Schultz-Mattusch (Germany), Mareen Scholl (Germany), Erika Bruckmueller (Germany), Magdalena Graf (Germany), Jens Schaefer (Germany), Christine An (USA), Cintia Kalman (Germany), Bob Johnson (USA), Silvia Guillen (Spain), Xu Zhifeng (China), Werner Pregler (Germany), Natalia Moskaleva (Romania), Lara Kruger (South Africa), Johanna Korndorfer (UK), Claudia von Knorr (Germany), Miyuki Jokiranta (Australia), Petra Johnson (Germany/China), Janhavi Dhamankar (India), Christina Bechstein (USA), Iryna Matsevich (Minsk, Belarus), Marita Rurua (Georgia).


Below are selected voices and images of participants from some of these courses:

Christina Bechstein, artist active in the fields of Public Art and Social Art. She is a Professor at Maine College of Art, in Portland Maine, USA, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Petra Johnson, artist and project manager in Cologne, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Miyuki Jokiranta, publicist in Australia, founder of the organization “seven thousand oaks”, a platform for art and sustainability, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Claudia von Knorr, eurythmist in Germany, graduate of the MA Course in Interdisciplinary Arts / Social Sculpture at the Oxford Brookes University, UK, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Lara Kruger, MA student in Visual Arts at the Stellenboch University in South Africa, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Marita Rurua, architect from Georgia, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture”, 2009. PDF

Shaw Xu Zhifeng, artist and architect from Shanghai, with his action Journeyman, 2009. On the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Christine An, USA, artist and art teacher, on the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2009. PDF

Iryna Matsevich, PhD candidate from Minsk, Belarus. On the course “From Bauhaus to Social Sculpture” 2008. PDF