Social sculpture is about working towards and shaping new social, political and economic processes and forms that enable the unfolding of individual capacities, supportive forms of community and ways of existing on the planet that are ecologically viable and humane.

For the field of social sculpture to thrive, support of many different kinds is needed:

  • creativity and ideas
  • individual and collective energy
  • openness to collaborations
  • sharing of skills and capacities
  • dedicating time to make things happen and to explore new ideas
  • funding

In essence, the field of social sculpture is the field of generosity. And everyone has something different to contribute.


In the transition to new social and economic forms and processes we need many kinds of contributions, including traditional financial support in the form of money: gifts and grants from individuals, groups and foundations who want to see their money working towards a viable future.


The SSRU is one part of the field of social sculpture. Its role is important because it crosses borders between academia and civil society; research and transformative action; and arts, culture and sustainability, as well as between social sculpture initiatives in different contexts and continents. It also plays a role, particularly across the English-speaking world, and for second language English speakers who can access the ideas and have exchange about the field, in English. Being part of a university, the SSRU is also able to initiate and collaborate in research programmes, locally, nationally and globally. And it can run programmes that support explorations in the field of social sculpture, for which one can get a Masters or Doctoral degree.


The pedagogical activities, as well as some of the research and dissemination are therefore supported by the university and the School of Arts through staff salaries, student fees, internal research grants and other infrastructural resources.



A) Financial and other support for projects and explorations
On-going projects like the University of the Trees, and other activities that extend beyond the School of Arts and Faculty’s remit for teaching and research need the kind of contributions listed above.

This includes funding for evolving civil society and other experimental projects that cannot easily be supported by the university’s funding streams.

In 1998 a generous donation of £100,000 from Paul Ventener van Vlissingen enabled the SSRU to continue with projects like Exchange Values and to experiment with approaches and ideas that at the time were still too unformed to get funding.

Over the past 15 years many smaller gifts and donations – more recently from the Schweisfurth Foundation, Munich, the Social Sculpture Forum, Melbourne, the Joseph Beuys Foundation, Basel and the Identity Foundation, Kleve – have contributed to making possible our work, in particular to pay for materials, translations, writing tie for staff on fractional posts, travel, venues and people to assist with the development of prototypes in particular contexts – like the early 2002 form of Earth Forum in a South African village.

B) Financial support for additional staffing and research
Financial support can also be given into the university. If it comes from individuals and small foundations it will not be top-sliced. Such funding can fund additional teaching, research and provide project assistance. Increased staffing would enable us to respond to more of the enquiries for doctoral study and to extend dissemination of our work through direct contact with groups and communities beyond the university and academic sphere.

For the past 6 years, the Iona Foundation in Holland has generously supported one of the SSRUs research posts.


We hope you will participate in the development of this field through making either a financial or non-financial contribution.

We are looking for support across the spectrum – from your time and skills to small and large-scale financial support from generous individuals, trusts and foundations.


Please contact Shelley Sacks: to discuss ways in which you might contribute.