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
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
Teaching and learning
Our teaching methods include:
- seminars and lectures on interdisciplinary creative practice,
practice-based research, phenomenological root methodologies and
- 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 of practical research
- the researching and writing of reflective reports, assignments and
- 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
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
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
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.
Staff lectures and interviews in international contexts:
Shelley Sacks in Sweden at the
Youth Initiative Programme
Shelley Sacks - Talk for Making
a Difference Asia: Change-Makers programme - Hong Kong [with
Shelley Sacks: Berlin,
with Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Heinrich Boell Stiftung
Wolfgang Zumdick in an interview for
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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.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes