MA in Social Sculpture students take five compulsory modules - Creative Strategies 1 and 2, Social Sculpture 1 and 2 and a Major Project - in which they develop their particular concerns.
PGDip in Social Sculpture students take four compulsory modules - Creative Strategies 1 and 2 and Social Sculpture 1 and 2.
Modules may change from time to time as they are reviewed as part of our quality assurance framework; an indicative list is shown below.
Shared transdisciplinary modules
Creative Strategies 1 and 2 are shared by the MA in Social Sculpture and the MA Sounds Arts courses. This module explores methodologies and strategies for generating contemporary social sculpture and related connective practices, cross art form and socially engaged practices, reflective eco-social practice and forms of cultural activism. For those doing the MA Sound Arts it also serves as a basis for generating sounds art and cross-art form work. You are introduced to phenomenological approaches in both theory and practice that encourage you to become aware of your working process as a creative practitioner and to understand the influence that certain methodologies and strategies have on the kind of work that you do. Through individual and collaborative practice-based work, staff-led seminars and feedback discussions, attention is focused on how we generate practice-based work. Strategies that encompass the intuitive, spontaneous, interventionist, discursive and analytical are used, individually or in collaboration with others.
Social Sculpture and Connective Practice modules
This sequence of two modules in Semester 1 and 2 [Year 1] focuses on social sculpture, creative agency, ecological citizenship, connective aesthetics, connective practices in general and cultural creative action. Alongside an exploration of specific social sculpture strategies of engagement, and the relationship between imagination and transformation, it makes special reference to the proposals and legacy of Joseph Beuys, Schiller, and to Goethean methodology, whilst exploring the broader field of connective practices that include the work of Joanna Macy, James Hillman and Paulo Freire. You will have the opportunity to study the theoretical and philosophical frameworks that underpin these ideas, and to examine contemporary research and practice that explores the relationship of social sculpture to ecological sustainability and the shaping of a viable future. In addition, you will explore relevant practice-based methodologies and research strategies as the basis for developing your own interdisciplinary social sculpture, reflective social practice and expanded art projects.
At the end of the course there is an annual degree festival of the MA Social Sculpture work. The Major Project is the culmination of your course of study. You can take an active role in organising, marketing and running the festival, which in previous years has taken place at a variety of sites in and around Oxford, as well as the University and exhibition spaces in the School of Arts.
Teaching and learning
Our teaching methods include:
- seminars and lectures on interdisciplinary creative practice, practice-based research, phenomenological root methodologies and social sculpture
- team teaching in group seminars, involving research methodologies for practice-based research
- feedback from staff and students during group feedback sessions, in which you receive constructive feedback on your work
- staff-led group discussions arising out of practical presentations
- regular individual tutorials that address your research concerns
- introductions to creative strategies for generating and making practice-based social sculpture and other forms of connective cultural action and reflective social practice.
- introductions to the School of Arts technical facilities
- induction sessions with subject librarians.
The learning methods include:
- regular forums where staff and students formulate and articulate responses to work
- social sculpture and interdisciplinary creative practice presentations
- presentations of practical research
- the researching and writing of reflective reports, assignments and self-evaluations
- private research and study
- presentations to peers and group feedback via the 'feedback forum' approach to 'reception theory' in practice.
Approach to assessment
The approach to assessment can be described as dialogic. You interrogate your own work using a form of phenomenological analysis, and we assess and respond to this careful 'dialogue' that you have with your own work.
The assessment forms and methods include:
- practical presentations of resolved social sculpture, interdisciplinary creative actions and reflective social practice
- written self-evaluations on the evolution, development and resolution of all creative practices and projects
- written case-studies
- a final presentation of practical work as part of the MA Social Sculpture and Connective Practice Festival which includes projects in specific contents and related documentation, interventions, exhibitions and events.
As a student in the School of Arts, you will benefit from excellent and well equipped facilities, 24 hour access to your own studio space and the help and support our team of practitioners and the other specialists in the field who work here.
The MA in Social Sculpture is situated in the Richard Hamilton Building, which includes bookable installation rooms, music practice rooms and a research base for postgraduate students to do group and individual work. Access to the Richard Hamilton Building is available 24 hours a day for all arts students.
The department also has access to a black box drama studio where performances and installations can take place. This provides a live performance venue with versatile sound, lighting and staging possibilities, including surround sound, projections and raised staging and seating.
Arts related workshops and IT
Social sculpture students have access to well-equipped workshops run by technical specialists in Artists’ Books, Printmaking, Photography, Video and a range of processes including casting, metalwork, laser cutting and woodwork. General internet, email and office software are available as well as workstations with more specialist programmes including Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Audition 3.0; Sibelius 6; Cubase Essential 4; Pure Data; Hyperprism; GRM Tools and Composers Desktop Project.
Field trips There are no formal field trips however you will have the opportunity to engage with cultural, social and ecologically focused organisations and well as to visit social sculpture related projects such at the Omnibus for Direct Democracy in Germany, and to volunteer and assist on Social Sculpture Research Unit projects such as University of the Trees: Lab for an Eco-Social Future and Earth Forum. Travel and other costs incurred are expected to be met by the student.
lectures and interviews in international contexts:
Sacks in Sweden at the Youth Initiative Programme
Sacks - Talk for Making a Difference Asia: Change-Makers programme - Hong Kong [with Chinese subtitles]
Sacks: Berlin, with Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Heinrich Boell Stiftung
Zumdick in an interview for Australian radio
Recent staff publications
See our Facebook page
Students meet twice weekly in both the first and second semesters - on Mondays and Tuesdays. In the summer students work to develop their Major Project, which concludes in early October the following year.
Students need to be on-site or nearby for at least half the week, and put in about 40 hours per week.