The Territory

Social sculpture is a field of transformation and no-one is outside.

It is a place of questions.

Social sculpture is about the connection between inner and outer work.

It emphasises the role of imagination in transformative social process and the centrality of alternative modes of thought.

Social sculpture is about exploring strategies, methods and principles that enable us to see, to understand and to act imaginatively to shape a humane and ecologically viable world.

It is about perceiving interrelationships, joined up thinking and practice and enabling connective understanding.

Social sculpture is the philosophy, understanding and practice of freedom.


A great many people from different practices, disciplines and cultures are working towards a humane and sustainable way of inhabiting the world. The determination to transform the conditions and take our lives into our own hands is nowadays stronger than ever.

‘Social sculpture’ is sometimes used quite loosely to refer to any creative activity or work that is participatory and has a social intention or focus.

However, if social sculpture is also understood to be a new social order or formation, a ‘sculpture’ in which ‘every human being is an artist’, this widens social sculpture way beyond the field of art as we know it; beyond simply being another name for imaginative, socially engaged, participatory arts practice.

Because this ‘expanded conception of art’ is not simply any creative social action, but includes the way we think, as well as the political, economic and social forms connected to this thinking, this calls for an understanding and exploration of what is particular about social sculpture.

You can engage in this exploration with us through our projects, publications, social sculpture initiatives forum, seminars, graduate programmes and special events as well as through the opportunities to participate in, collaborate with and support the SSRU and the field.



We have developed this social sculpture platform in order to:

  • present practices and possibilities in the field of social sculpture and connective practices
  • highlight transformative approaches that reconnect us to each other and the world
  • contribute to research in this and related fields
  • connect individuals and organisations that are working in this and related territory
  • maximise the potential of our work and encourage collaborations

In the following sections of the website you will find short notes and references to publications about the nature and origins of the idea of social sculpture, as well as to perspectives on the different practices and methods in this field.

Impulse and Conception

The notes and references in this section relate to the underlying impulse and motivation and to the origin and evolution of the idea Read More


In the last few years, social sculpture has developed many new forms and understandings. An awareness of significant influences, past and present, will reflect the main streams that flow into and inform this field. Read More

Key Themes

A number of key themes and questions underpin our work. These are not closed and or complete, but simply give some idea of certain significant concerns and the territory of engagement. Read More

Perspectives and Reflections

A number of people have written extensively on the idea of social sculpture and its development. Amongst these are Wolfgang Zumdick, Volker Harlan, Johannes Stuettgen and Shelley Sacks. This web platform includes links to some of their work and references to other useful material. Read More

[Copyleft: Creative Commons – All text on this page is by Shelley Sacks]