Professor Shelley Sacks

Masters studies with Joseph Beuys, University of Hamburg; Post Graduate Advanced Diploma Fine Art [Installation, Performance and Aesthetics, with distinction], Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town

Professor Emerita in Interdisciplinary Arts, Social Sculpture and Connective Practice

School of Arts

Shelley Sacks


Research: focusing on ongoing development of the field of social sculpture and connective practice through my practice-based initiatives, writing, co-creative enquiries, workshop program design, curating, mentoring, and other consultancy; participation in research fora, conferences and public platforms.

PhD Supervision as First Supervisor / Director of Studies

Supervising 13th doctoral student linked to the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes.


  • Head of Arts [1997-2006]
  • Director of the Social Sculpture Research Unit [1997-2019, now the global Social Sculpture Lab]
  • Course Leader for Masters programs in Interdisciplinary Arts, and Social Sculpture and Connective Practice 1997-2019]
  • PhD Supervisor - 2002 ongoing.
  • Researcher and research coordination

Teaching and supervision

The 'Creative Strategies' approach and closely related 'Feedback Forum Process' - that I developed in 1998 as the core of the new Undergraduate and Masters Programs in Contemporary Arts Practice, Sound Art and Social Sculpture at Oxford Brookes - is being written up as a book "Creative Strategies for Connective Practice: A Handbook for Artists, Educators and Changemakers". 


I have tutored over 300 Masters students (between 1999 and 2019), and supervised dissertations in New Collaborations, Interdisciplinary Arts, Social Sculpture and Connective Practice. 

I have supervised 11 students to completion. One student is nearing completion [2023]. I have been a PhD External Examiner and special advisor to PhD students at the University of Ulster and Humboldt University, Berlin.

PHD COMPLETIONS (2008 onwards)

Nicholas Stronczyk
Title: 'Thinking in form and (In)formed thought: an exploration of aesthetic strategies and methodologies in new art practices, with special reference to Joseph Beuys' expanded conception of art'. Practice-based. Award date: 17/09/2008. [not on Radar]

Mary-Lou Barrat
Title: We are the revolution? The 'creative social action' of La Fiambrera, Skart and Superflex, and its contribution to sustainable social change.  Theory. Award date: 29/11/2010. (on Radar)

Petra Johnson
Title: 'Composing the Ordinary: A Walking/Dialogical Arts Practice as Enquiry into the Role of Affects across Life Worlds and Cultures'.  Practice-based. Award date: 12/09/2014. (not on Radar)

Jo Thomas 
Title: 'Presencing Place: an enquiry into the knowing and shaping of place through expanded art practices'. Practice-based. Award date: 16/01/2014. (on Radar)

Axel Ewald
Title: Developing Processes for an Imaginative and Connective engagement with Natural Landscapes. 
Practice-based. Award date: 24/09/2018. (not on Radar)

Claudia Schlürmann 
Title: Material as a gateway to other forms of knowing - what the secrets in materials and processes can offer in the field of transformative social practice.
Practice-based. Award date:11/07/2014. (on Radar under Schluermann)

Maris Palmi
Title: Energy Trees’ for a humane and viable future: a social sculpture approach linking individual and social capital.  Practice-based. Award date: 14/03/2016. (Not on Radar)

Johann Göttel
Title: A poetic pilgrimage towards a cosmopolitan world.  Practice-based [text]. Award date: 22/01/2019. (Not on Radar)

Dianne Regisford 
Title: Evoking Belonging: Enlivening Ubuntu As Social Sculpture for Cultural Transformation towards Ecological Citizenship in Sustainable City Making.  Practice-based. Award date:12/01/2021 (not on Radar)

Beatrice Catanzaro
Title: Journey into Relatedness: ways to overcome the separation between inner and outer action, engender eco-social insight and facilitate new forms of transdisciplinary Connective Practice, Social Sculpture and Socially Engaged Art'.  Practice-based. Award date: 15/11/2021. (not on Radar)

Helena Fox
Title: From Anaesthetic to Aesthetic in the Clinic: An Arts, Practice-Based Inquiry into Everyday Aesthetic Experience for Healthcare Practitioners. 50 Theory/50 Practice-based. Awarded July 2023. (Not on Radar)

Stephan Siber  (Working towards submission, 2024)
Title: Aesthetic education and social sculpture - Heinrich Marianus Deinhardt's unnoticed contribution to the evolution of Joseph Beuys' expanded conception of art?.

Anna van Zelderen
(Deceased April 2021. Practice-based research complete, but incomplete thesis/reflective commentary).
Title: From re-creation as leisure to re-creation as connective and enlivened ways of being in the world.


My interdisciplinary research in 'social sculpture' and 'connective practice' is both practice-based, pedagogic and theoretical. 

It explores mind-set work, co-creative processes, creative agency, 'cognitive justice', meeting points between aesthetics, freedom and responsibility, processes of 'living planning', facilitating new vision and new narratives, emancipating/decolonizing the mind, the connection between inner and outer work, art forms in cultural activism, ways of working toward an ecologically viable and just society, and the role of imagination in transformative social process.

Forms of research-practice include: participatory civic arenas, performative actions, mapping processes, pedagogic practices, co-creative processes, assemblies for deep listening and emergent processes, text-based work, interventions, structured conversations and exchanges, and dialogue processes. The outcomes are flexible frameworks [e.g. University of the Trees; Field of Commitment], transformative intervention formats [e.g. Earth Forum], enquiry labs [e.g. ecological citizenship], kits [University of the Trees practices], 'instruments of consciousness' [e.g. FRAMETALKS], as opposed to 'objects of attention', and enabling hybrid co-creative learning communities.

Research areas

  • Forms of imagination in transformative process and working toward a viable eco-social future
  • Re-schooling the senses, an expanded view of the senses, and new organs of perception [Goethe]
  • Joseph Beuys’ social sculpture proposals and ‘expanded conception of art’
  • Becoming agents of personal, social and system change
  • Creative agency in participatory practices
  • The importance of the poetic dimension and connective imagination in holistic forms of enquiry
  • Decolonising research methodologies in the field of connective practice
  • Phenomenological and experiential knowing and the gap between information and awareness
  • The connection between love, play and social sculpture
  • Deep dialogue and active listening processes
  • Rethinking the 'aesthetic' as the basis of internal mobilization and our 'ability-to-respond'
  • Connective imagination and ecological citizenship
  • Commoning and connective practice
  • Creating spaces in civil society for ‘making visible the invisible’
  • Strategies for becoming imaginatively active
  • Social aesthetic strategies for 'a change of heart'
  • The relationship between the aesthetic, empathy, and an ecologically sustainable future
  • Practices that enable working consciously with the 'invisible materials' of thought, feeling and will as materials of an expanded conception of art
  • 'Parallel process' methodologies enabling 'calculative thinking' and imaginal, contemplative thought
  • Exploring human warmth and the difference between the human being, other life forms and machines

Selected Research Projects

My practiced-based research projects are part of an ongoing and long-term enquiry into connective practice and social sculpture. Although related to each other through their use and ongoing exploration of root methodologies and theories that constitute the Connective Practice Approach, they are also specific enquiries, each related to a particular context or set of questions. They therefore take many different forms from 'instruments of consciousness' that include physical forms, to public lectures and lecture-performances, conference presentations, participatory seminars and colloquia, curating social sculpture arenas and assemblies, co-created initiatives, and text-based enquiries.

The Kassel21-Social Sculpture Lab (17 June-26 Sept 2021) 
In 2019-20 I worked to develop the Kassel21-Social Sculpture Lab for the Joseph Beuys Centenary in 2021, hosted by the documenta Archive, the Neue Galerie, Kassel, and the City of Kassel. The lab included the curation of The Survival Room and the 3 Pots for the Future Action in the Neue Galerie; four Connective Practices; several participatory enquiries; and, a publication to accompany the museum installation: “Letter to Joseph Beuys”

One focus of this 100-day lab was to explore and demonstrate the evolution of the Connective Practice Approach [that I developed and taught at Oxford Brookes University between 1998 and 2019] and its contribution to developing 'capacities for a viable ecological and humane future'. Another central aim was to a. unpack Joseph Beuys’ social sculpture proposals, their roots in Goethean methodology, and Schiller’s notion of aesthetic education, and b. to highlight how the Connective Practice Approach developed practical strategies to bring these ideas to life beyond Beuys by connecting with Freire’s pedagogy, Macy’s deep ecology practices, Hillman’s archetypal psychology, and eastern mindfulness practices. Further aims were a. to involve a global and local public in reflective processes - online and on the ground - exploring the relationship of their own practice to Beuys’ social sculpture ideas b. to introduce and reflect on key aspects of the ‘connective practice’ approach c. to explore the connections between aesthetic education and civic education [politische Bildung] and  d. to offer direct forms of public engagement in social sculpture and connective practice by enabling local communities and museum visitors to participate in the FRAMETALKS, Earth Forum, Landing Strip for Souls, and Field of Commitment ‘instruments of consciousness and social sculpture arenas. The effects of these initial explorations have continued in secondary schools, in a university philosophy course, and in new initiatives like 7000 HUMANS.  Funding: 120,000 Euros was awarded for the project from the Hessische Kulturstiftung, the Bundeszentral für politische Bildung, the Neue Galerie, Museums Hessen; the Edith Maryon Stiftung, and the documenta Archive.

The global Social Sculpture Lab [2019 ongoing] is a non-for-profit framework [registered in Germany] that contributes the Connective Practice Approach to the field of social sculpture, and enables further research, publications and projects like 7000 HUMANS and FRAMETALKS. Many former social sculpture graduates are connected to this lab. Read an extract from the lab's aims and constitution.

7000 HUMANS (2021 ongoing) is a global initiative in the field of connective practice for working with transnational and local questions through online and on the ground exchanges and enquiries. It evolved during the Kassel21 Social Sculpure Lab in response to questions about ways of working in the post-pandemic climate crisis, including 'What comes after Beuys' 7000 Oaks?'  It is now in its second phase with an emphasis on developing a transnational, transcultural global Social Forest / Field of Commitment. It includes several parallel online enquires related to shaping a living future. One convened by staff and students of International Relations at the Central European University has to do with 'ecological citizenship'. Another is exploring 'human warmth' and 'the difference between life and a machine'. 

FRAMETALKS - Making Social Honey (2011 ongoing)
FRAMETALKS is an ‘instrument of consciousness’ project, incorporated in University of the Trees and the global Social Sculpture Lab. It has to do with new forms of assembly and of thinking-together based on the connective practice approach [described in Social Aesthetic Strategies for a Change of Heart, Oxford University Press 2023, in press]. FRAMETALKS was first presented as a 24-hour action in Bern in an art-collective space (2011) and then in Berlin as a 3 x 12-hour action, as part of Citizen Art Days (2013). In Kassel, in 2018 [for 7 days x 12 hours a day) new elements were introduced that emphasised imaginal thinking as a connective practice for developing new narratives. The form it took in 2021 - for six weeks as part of the Kassel21-Social Sculpture Lab, put an emphasis on exploring these methodolgies in schools and civic contexts and on what aesthetic education has to offer to 'civic education' [politische Bildung). Throughout Oct 2021 and Feb 2022 FRAMETALKS was at Museum Fluxus+ in Potsdam where it worked intensively with University of Potsdam graduate students and members of the public. The work it has been doing in schools in Kassel since 2021 has involved over 500 pupils. This emphasis on exploring 'the future we want', developing 'new eyes for the world' and using the 'connective practice' methodologies for linking inner work/imagination and outer action - will continue to be the focus when FRAMETALKS moves to the new Changemakers Campus in Berlin in 2024. 

University of the Trees (2000 ongoing) is a long-term social sculpture 'framework' project, hosted by several organisations including the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in the UK (between 2005 -2012), the Uberlebenskunst project, Berlin (2011), and Citizen Art Days, Berlin (2012, 2013). University of the Trees was part of the Renewable Energy, Renewable Culture programme at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2014). It has introduced its work and shared practices several times in India (2000, 2010, 2014, 2019) in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and the North-East of india. In Hong Kong it was part of Making a Difference, Asia, where it trained a team of facilitators in connective practice. These facilitators then facilitated the Earth Forum connective practice with 120 young changemakers from across China. University of the Trees emphasises new forms of research and enquiry that differentiate between awareness, knowledge and information. The enquiries and developments in Univeristy of the Trees in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Natural World (2005-2012) form part of a new archive at Bath Spa Univeristy [online late 2023]. 

Exchange Values - on the Table (1996, ongoing) 
Exchange Values on the table [2007 onwards, initially Exchange Values: Images of invisible Lives, 1996] creates an interface in the fragmenting and alienating global economy using aesthetic strategies in its carefully designed methods of engagement. Using such connective practices to explore its particular focus on small producers of bananas in the Windward Islands and consumer responsibility, enables participants to live and respond to key questions about the banana supply chain and the global economy in an embodied way.

This project has been in 13 venues since 1996 when it was presented for the NOW Festival, Bonnington Gallery, Nottingham, UK. In 1998 it was presented as part of the UK EU Presidency in the Brixton Gallery, London. In 2002, it was in the Johannesburg Gallery, linked to the World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa, and in 2004 at the International Project Space, Birmingham. In Dornach, Switzerland, 2007, it was part of the Social Sculpture Today exhibition and in 2011, in Zurich, it was a key aspect of 'Going Bananas', an international exhibition on bananas and the global banana trade. In 2017-2018 it was at the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem where it created an arena for 18 x day-long intensive social sculpture processes ‘at the table’.  

Exchange Values has a comprehensive website that includes the farmers speaking about their concerns and realities, with images of the sheets of banana skin that correspond to their numbered boxes of bananas and to their lives. Documentary material on this site include texts from the 2002 catalogue for the World Summit for Sustainable Development, images from some of the 13 venues, and the leaflet from the Frans Hals Museum, 2017-18. 

Exchange Values is discussed in many Master and Doctoral theses and other publications, as well as providing historical context to an exhibtion on socially engaged practice, food and the economy at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, 2023. 

Field of Commitment / Willensfeld / Feld der Begenung (2018, ongoing)
This participatory social sculpture / connective practice project has been piloted in Kassel, Germany [2018-2021]. Since 2021 it has been integrated into the 7000 HUMANS initiative. It connects individual human beings or initiatives with a tree partner or specific place. This creates an anchor place on the planet where a minimum commitment is made, for example, to 'not look away' and to ‘find ways to work in the world, individually and with others, toward a living future’. Insights and actions are shared in a variety of different online and local on-the-ground fora. Precursors of the Field of Commitment are Field of Awareness in: 1. 'A Place for New Vision' [2000-2003] with 'Academy of Everything is Possible', Dublin; 2. University of the Trees [2006 -2012] with Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Natural World [A history of this is outlined in CCANW Archive with Bath Spa University, forthcoming 2023/24] and 3. in Berlin, Kassel and Dresden since 2011, linked to various festivals, groups and contexts.

Training: Local groups can also be ‘trained’ to develop a Field of Commitment in their area. In October 2023, a local Field of Commitment will be initiated as part of the 7000 HUMANS-Social Forest, in collaboration with the biggest Buddhist Community in the southern hemisphere, near Sydney, Australia.

Landing Strip For Souls (2000, ongoing). This connective-practice process, initially a lecture-performance commissioned for the seminal art and ecology conference 'Between Nature: Ecology and Performance' [2000], has since then had many different forms and iterations. Since 2021 it is offered as an intensive connective-practice journey for finding and working with questions, and a form of 'living planning' that enables personal and collective eco-social initiatives to emerge. It is used in a variety of contexts from museums [e.g. Neue Galerie 2021] to organisations [The Social Art Project of the Iona Stichting, 2019 -2021]. 

Earth Forum (2002, ongoing) is a mobile ‘permanent conference’ process that emerged from the ‘Sustaining Life Project’ in 2002. In 2011 it was redeveloped incorporating imaginal processes and methods from Exchange Values on the Table (Switzerland 2007 and 2011) as a module of University of the Trees, and used for the Climate Summit events in South Africa. It enables particpants to become facilitators through a four-day intensive training. I outline and discuss the methodologies and theory of change that inform Earth Forum in Sustainabilty without the I-Sense is nonsense (2018)

Earth Forum is an experiential process connecting thought, feeling and action. It opens space for deep reflection,  eco-social awareness, creative dialogue and new insights between individuals, in communities and in organisations. It develops capacities for distilling insight from experience and for thinking-together in non-linear ways that support 'living planning' processes that allow initiatives to emerge and holistic forms of agenda setting.  

Its carefully designed aesthetic strategies enable project people, policy makers and other practitioners to engage in embodied thinking and develop what the Connective Practice approach describes as 'new eyes for the world'. Participants 'see' the connection between values and actions, identify and explore different ‘takes’ on the world, and discover social aesthetic strategies and the role of imagination in capacity building for an ecologically healthy and socially just future.

Earth Forum in South Africa was initiated and developed by Shelley Sacks for the Climate Fluency Exchange in the run-up to the Climate Summit in Durban, 2011. It was designed to engage people in diverse contexts and communities in connective practices that 'mobilise them internally' and inspire new awareness about ways of living on the planet. Earth Forum in South Africa was funded by the British Council. It has been used in South Africa by a small team of Earth Forum facilitators, and continues to be reflected on as part of the Connective Practice approach that links aesthetics, ecological action and responsibility, as the ability-to-respond. 

In Germany, Holland, India, Brazil, UK and China (2011, ongoing) thousands of people have participated in Earth Forum processes. Over 200 people have been trained as Earth Forum facilitators.  

Ort des Treffens: 100/1000 Voices (2008-2010). A social sculpture project including dialogue, reflective practices, listening processes, and the creation of a city-wide sound-field. Original team included Prof. Alex Arteaga (Berlin); Anja Steckling and Nicholas Stronczyk (Hannover); Lukas Ortel (Bonn); Dr. Wolfgang Zumdick (Aachen/Oxford). Ort des Treffens was invited and funded by the City of Hannover with further support from several German cultural foundations. The project continued as a citizens’ initiative entitled: Forum Ort des Treffens from 2011-2016. The forms and methodolgies for connecting inner and outer work, for individual insight and collective thinking-together processes and assemblies, are precursors of the Earth Forum (2011, ongoing) and the FRAMETALKS 'social honey making' processes (2018, 2021 ongoing). 

Research impact

The research impact of my work in the field of social sculpture and connective practice can be seen in and beyond academia from:

  • the public presentation of my research projects in museums and other contexts of engagement
  • the duration, nature and degree of intensive and sustained public and NGO participation in my research projects e.g. Exchange Values, FRAMETALKS, and Earth Forum 
  • citations in journal articles 
  • invited chapters, interviews, and writings on my work by others
  • the many keynote and other conference invitations received
  • master and doctoral theses, beyond my own graduate students, that consider or focus on my work,
  • the effect that my projects, methodologies and writings have had on programmes and practitioners across disciplines and beyond academia, in many countries and contexts. Aspects of this are noted in the Research Excellence Framework study of 2014. 

The social sculpture approach and its methodologies show evidence of being able to:

  • Enhance a sense of personal and social agency in an intergenerational spectrum of individuals, and inspire educators, changemakers, and organisations
  • Contribute new ideas, approaches and thinking to the research and practice of the ‘inner dimension of sustainability’
  • Offer a widened understanding of what it means to work as ‘artists’ in an extended sense and of the role of imagination in transformative processes and developing new narratives
  • Enable deeper collaboration, listening, insight and shared language across disciplinary, cultural, and generational borders for overcoming pre-judgments, decolonising the mind, and facilitating intra- and inter-organisational work 
  • Contribute to the development of practice-based research and action research concerned with the inner dimension of sustainable development, education for democracy, transformative learning and ecological citizenship.

People other than artists, curators, art educators and art students that have benefitted:

  • Changemakers and participants in ecological and social change networks of different ages, from different cultures and continents
  • School teachers and pupils, as well as non-formal education facilitators and participants
  • Academics and students involved in sustainability research
  • People working in the fields of medicine and healthcare; curative education, international relations, agroecology, global food production and distribution; and city planning, 
  • Peace, climate and cultural activists, NGOs, and other organisations committed to a living future
  • People who have not been very active in change processes

Other impact and quality indicators

The participation of international speakers at the well-attended social sculpture and connective practice colloquia and symposia linked to the Social Sculpture Research Unit and Sustaining Life Project since 2001, and the invitation from the Documenta Archive to curate the Kassel21-Social Sculpture Lab, are other indicators of the impact and quality of research in the field. This has grown since the first international colloquium I organised for the Goethe Institute, Glasgow in 1995, followed by the launch of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes in 1998. The launch in Berlin and Kassel in 2019 of the global Social Sculpture Lab, its many reflective fora, experimental initiatives and partnerships in several countries, enable a further deepening and extension of the impact of the social sculpture-connective practice methodologies, theories and processes.   

Selected Research Colloquia at Oxford Brookes (2002-2013)

  • Dialogues for the Future: Working with Water (May 2002). Contributors included: Jyoti Sahi (Bangalore); David Mosse (SOAS), John Wilkes (Virbela Institute), David Haley (Manchester Metropolitan Univ), Sven Riemer (Student – OBU), Shelley Sacks (SSRU)
  • Dialogues for the Future: What is Social Sculpture? (January 2003). Contributors included: Johannes Stuttgen, Enno Schmidt, Prof. Caroline Tisdall, Dr Volker Harlan, Peter Schata, Shelley Sacks.
  • Dialogues for the Future: Working with Water (May 2002). Contributors included: Jyoti Sahi (Bangalore); David Mosse (SOAS), John Wilkes (Virbela Institute), David Haley (Manchester Metropolitan Univ), Sven Riemer (Student – OBU), Shelley Sacks (SSRU)
  • Two one-day colloquia organised to explore methods and strategies that artists and other interdisciplinary practitioners are using in their work toward an ecologically sustainable society:

    1st Social Sculpture / Connective Aesthetics Methodologies Colloquium for 45 active participants (25 June 2003). Contributors:  Brandon Ballengee (Ecological artist, US), David Haley (Ecological Artist/Researcher, Manchester Met. Uni.,UK), Dr Hildegard Kurt (Cultural Researcher, Berlin), Shelley Sacks (SSRU/SLP).

    2nd Social Sculpture / Connective Aesthetics Methodologies Colloquium (15 September 2003). Contributors:Tim Collins & Reiko Goto (Eco-artists, Research Fellows, Carnegie Mellon Institute) Heike Strelow (Curator/ Writer, Germany), Ann T. Rosenthal  (Eco/feminist artist /educator, US) Dr John Colvin (Environment Agency, UK); Shelley Sacks (SSRU/SLP)
  • Protected Areas and Governance – Feb 2004 and Feb 2005 – a three day interdisciplinary event for 25 scientists, ecologists, conservationists and activists– as part of the SSRU’s Sustaining Life Project.  In collaboration with African Parks.
  • Visible Thought: 2-day symposium (2003) relating the exhibition 'Visible Thought' at Oxford Brookes including 20 x Rudolf Steiner blackboards and the 'Oxford Series' by Enno Schmidt. Contributions to symposium by Prof. Walter Kugler, Enno Schmidt and Shelley Sacks.
  • Connective Practices symposium (June 2008)A 2-day participatory event for 25 participants, linked to the Oxford Brookes Institute for Historical and Cultural Research, and the Art, Culture, Sustainability initiative. Designed and led by Shelley Sacks and Dr Chris Seeley. 
  • Agents of Change and Ecological Citizenship series at Oxford Brookes University [2009-2012]. Speakers  included: Wolfgang Zumdick (Germany), Arran Stibbe (UK), Alex Arteaga (Berlin), Beth Carruthers (Canada); Peter Gingold (Tipping Point, UK), Hildegard Kurt (Germany), Allan Kaplan (South Afirca)
  • 2013 On Commoning –with Silke Helfrich; On Permaculture with Tomas Remiarz


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Professional information


Selected:  Keynotes, Invited Speaker, Lecture-Performances at Events and Conferences

  • Futures of Education, Culture, and Nature - Bhutan Conference, one of 6 keynote speakers. "Introducing the 7000+ HUMANS global social sculpure inititative". Organised and faciltated by Jesper Garsdal, Centre for Social Innovation, University College Network. (14-15 April, 2023)
  • Central European University, International Relations Guest Lecture on the 'Connective Practice Approach' for the doctoral research methods program: "Welcome to the Place of Questions". (25 May 2022)
  • FRAMETALKS: Fluxus, Social Sculpture, Connective Practice. Contribution to symposium at Museum Fluxus+ to coincide with the end of the FRAMETALKS research process. Other speakers: Mary Baumeister, Bazon Brock, chaired by curator Phillip John (Nov.201)
  • Transsektorale (Un)-Konferenz - Neue Konzepte für Neue Arbeit, (Trans-sectoral [Un]Conference: New Concepts for New Work, Berlin. Keynote presentation: "Landing Strip for Souls". (13 July 2018).
  • Revision Summit, Berlin. [Speaker]. "A Social Sculpture Academy: Developing Capacities and New Knowledge for an Eco-Social Future". (20 Nov. 2018)
  • "Capacities for the Future: Experiencing the threefold nature of things, holistically"  ["Zukunftsfähigkeiten – Dreigliederung in einem holistischen Ansatz erleben"]. One of 4 keynotes for Jahrestagung des Instituts für Sozialorganik: „Gesellschaft neu denken – Auf dem Weg in die Sinngemeinschaft“ at Alanus University for Art and Society, Alfter, Bonn. (14 Nov. 2019)
  • "My Journey with Joseph Beuys" [lecture-performance] 100 Days of Joseph Beuys in Holland. Hosted by Louwrien Wijers. Guest Speaker –for 2 days. (Aug 2018)
  • “Working with the Hungry Ghosts: Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol and Michael Jackson”. Contributor to programme - ‘Framing Artistic Practice’; Royal Academy, Den Haag in collaboration with PARTS Project, Holland. (April 2018) 
  • Re-Thinking Home and the Art of Changing One’s Mind-Set”: TEDx, UCL, London: on Social Sculpture and Connective Practice /UCL London (Nov 2017)
  • Emerge Conference. "21st century Medicis: creating spaces for creative collisions": Exploring what enables interdisciplinary inventiveness.Skoll Centre, Said Business School, Oxford University. Interdisciplinary panel. (Nov 2017)
  • "Das Anthropocene: der Mensch als Lösung". Invited Public lecture, Social Sculpture Lab, Kassel. +150 people present. (May 2017)
  • “Contemporary Social Sculpture & the Field of Transformation”, THE MISSING LINK Conference, KARLSRUHE, funding Federal Ministry of Education and Research & Karlsruhe University of Education (July 2016) 
  • Goldsmith’s Critical Environments Series:  Title: “University of the Trees and Eco-Citizenship”. (Feb 2015)
  • “Developing ‘Capital’ for the Connective Village” MAKING A DIFFERENCE-ASIA, 2015.  3-day International Conference and workshops for 1300 young change -makers;  Hong Kong. (Jan 2015)
  • Contribution to Dear Earth: Transforming Self to Transform Earth conference.  Hosted by Christian Community, Scariff, Co. Clare, Ireland. (3-5 October 2014).
  • "Social Sculpture: Shaping a Culture of Connectedness", presentation for Mohile Parikh Centre of Contemporary Art, Mumbai, India (March 8, 2014)
  • "Social Sculpture and Sustainability”, Museum Cont. Art: ‘Renewable Energy, Renewable Culture; Zagreb (Nov 2013)

  • Lecture tour to 4 cities tour [Berlin, Hanover, Munich, Prague]: with David Abram, Hildegard Kurt, Shelley Sacks, Andreas Weber. Hosted by OYA Magazine and Heinrich Boell [Berlin], Transition Towns [Hannover], Schweisfurth Foundation [Munich] (March 2013)

  • “Inner Technologies and the Field of Freedom” for ‘Research, Creativity, Praxis’, international conference, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. (Nov 2012) 

  • Radius of Art Conference, "Aesthetics, Community and Ecology toward a Culture of Sustainability" Colloquium, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Berlin. My presentation on "Aesthetics and the Ability-to-Respond" alongside Michelangelo Pistoletto, David Brocchi. Chaired Sacha Kagan. (Feb 2012)

  • KUTSCHEU Comenius Project. Keynote speaker at ‘evaluation’ symposium, Alanus University, Bonn. (July 2010)
  • Lecture on my work in South Africa in 1970s and 80s. For conference Dada South: Experimentation, Radicalism, Resistance. Iziko Museum, Cape Town. (Feb 2010). 
  • Presentation of 'Exchange Values' project to World Cultural Economic Forum, New Orleans, invited contribution to Creative Communities strand, and discussion on growing cultural industries as key segments of global economy. (30-31 Oct 2008).
  • “The Field of Transformation”. Lecture at the Venice Biennale for Diffisa della Natura and Cultura21 at Thetis Pavillion, linked to Joseph Beuys exhibition. (Sept 2007)   

  • "The Red Flower: Social Sculpture and the role of the aesthetic in our work toward a humane and viable society” for the 5-day ‘Ursache Zukunft’ conference. “Other keynotes: Clemens Kuby; Ha Vinh Tho, Maritta Kochweser. Dornach, Switzerland. (May 2007) 

    Further selected lectures, including keynotes in UK, Germany, Holland, Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, British Columbia, South Africa, USA, India, China and Australia with a focus on Beuys, Social Sculpture and my own practice include: 

    Cooper Union, New York (1975); Tate Gallery: ‘William Blake and Joseph Beuys’, for conference William Blake and Regeneration, (London1990); Tate Gallery (London 1992;  Liverpool 1994); Photographer’s Gallery, London (1991); City Gallery and Museum, Stoke-on-Trent (1991, 1992); Glasgow School of Art (1996); Tate Modern (2000); UNESCO Summit for Culture and Development, Stockholm (1998); Chelsea College of Art, (1998); International Joseph Beuys Conferences (Germany 1998, Hungary 2000); Royal Academy, Stockholm, (2000); MSC in Coprotate Social Responsbility, University of Bath (2000); Shrishti School of Art, Bangalore, India (2000); Michaelis School of Art, Cape Town (2001); Hanover, Performance Art Network (1999, 2000, 2001); University of Braunschweig (2003); The Burren, Ireland, (2004), Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (2006); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2007, 2010); Victoria Art Gallery, British Columbia (2009); Alanus University (2007, 2008, 2009). 


Selected: Advisory Roles, Design and Faciltation of Transdiciplinary Processes

  • Buchkinder Project, Pedagogic Strategy with Aesthetics Advisory Group, and related training of staff tutors, Leipzig (2022 ongoing)
  • 'Imagination and Transformation': process designed and workshop for cultural workers, artists and educators, with Clarine Campagne, for Social Art Program of Iona Stichting (Feb 2023)
  • 7000 HUMANS, designed and faciltated online initiative for global Social Sculpture Lab (Jan 2022, ongoing)
  • Kassel21-Social Sculpture Lab, Guest curator for Documenta Archive contribution to Joseph Beuys Centenary, In collaboration with Neue Galerie and City of Kassel (17 June-26 Sept 2021)
  • "FRAMETALKS: Making Social Honey". A Connective Practice project for Neue Galerie and Kassel Schools with funding from the Bundeszentral für politisch Bildung [Federal Agency for Civic Education] (2021), Museum Fluxus, Potsdam, multi-agency civic and arts funding (2021-22); University of Kassel, Philosophy Dept. Seminar, Alternative Methods of Knowing (2023).
  • Leiden Hogeschool, Holland: "Agents of Change: Introduction to Social Sculpture". Designed and faciltated 2-day program for students training to be teachers. (Sept. 2019)
  • "Capacities for the Future" program: Celebrating 100 YEARS of WALDORF EDUCATION, organised by Waldorf School, Dresden. Program included "Landing Strip for Souls" workshops [5-7 Sept];  two lecture/workshops for 65 teachers on "Schiller, Steiner and Beuys' view on social sculpture and education"; public lecture entitled “Not auf der Erde: Der Mensch als Losung” [7 Sept], plus two processes with staff and students exploring new initiatives. (5-8 Sept. 2019)
  • "Working Towards A Living Future For All". Pilot Program developed for Social Sculpture Academy network, Holland.15 participants. ( 4 x 3-day sessions between Nov. 2019 and May 2020).
  • Designed and led Earth Forum as part of collaboration on 'Workspace': a program in Noth-East India with peace and climate activists, academics and artists. Hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, India. (April-May 2019)
  • Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. Guest contributor on The Commoners Society, Masters program. (17 Dec. 2019)
  • Developing strategy in City of Kassel for FRAMETALKS 2020. Follow up meetings with pupils representatives and Fridays for Future. (10 Sept. 2019)
  • "Nachhalitgkeit Leben und Erleben" ["Sustainability and Surviving]. Designed and led 3-day intensive cross-faculty seminar hosted by Dr Gudrun Spahn-Krotzski. for the Kassel-University, Sustainability Unit. Focus on 'capacities for the future', UOT LAB's 'Journaling for Change' methodology, and 'What is Information?' practice-based enquiry. 30 graduate students from economics, sustainability research, theology, art, and education participated.
  • Training for Earth Forum 'responsible participants'. 4-day public program in Kassel hosted by University of the Trees, Kassel. (19 – 22 Sept 2019).
  • "Capacities for the Future", 2-day 'Enquiry Lab' of the Social Sculpture Academy Hub, Berlin - with focus on 'the image of the human being and the idea of life'. Second session of an ongoing process, Berlin.  (​5-6 Oct 2019).
  • FAKT21, Bochum. „Das Unsichtbare zwischen uns - Earth Forum als Verbindungspraxis der geistigen Welt“. Designed and led 2 day process for 30 participants. (8-9 Nov. 2019)

  • ‘Soil: Ground of Existence’ Agro Ecology conference at Emerson College, Sussex. Designed and led  “For the Love of the Land” and Earth Forum process and participatory action for 40 participants (March 2018)

  • Raphael Stichting, Holland: Intensive Social Sculpture_Connective Practice process using Earth Forum, for mid-term planning with 45 person team (2017)
  • Heinrich Böll Foundation, Pakistan in collaboration with VASL Artists Residency Program, Pakistan. Designed and faciltated 6-week online Green Dialogues Art Residency program for selected young artists and cultural workers from Afghanistan and Pakistan, (2017). 
  • ‘Field of Commitment’ contribution to ‘White Wood Forum’ Conference events. Huntley, Aberdeenshire. 50 Participants. Other contributors: Tim Ingold, Satish Kumar (2016)
  • Social Sculpture Process [Earth Forum] for 150 participants, for the Association for Social Development, Annual Congress, included training group of Earth Forum facilitators. Tomar, Portugal. (May 2015)
  • Rethinking Progress - an exploration of social sculpture practices in the School of Architecture, University of Nimho, Guimaraes, Portugal. Followed by an introduction to Earth Forum for staff and students. (June 2015)
  • Earth Forum for Occupy Democracy, London, in collaboration with Basic Income Network, UK (May 2015)
  • Making a Difference-Asia [MAD 2015]. Introduction to University of the Trees. Designed and led week-long University of the Trees and Earth Forum facilitator training. With new team ran Earth Forum processes for 120 young Change Makers (Jan 2015)
  • Introduction to Social Sculpture-Connective Practice methodologies: Philosophy Departments at Ferguson University, Pune; Symbiosis University, and Arts Schools: Shrishti College, Bangalore and JJ College, Mumbai. (Feb 2014) 
  • The Green Room: a centre for soil preparation, in collaboration with the National Trust, Tyntesfield, UK. An Earth Forum process. (19 Oct 2014).
  • Citizens Art Days: 36-hour action using FRAMETALKS developed for Citizens Art Days at the Kreuzberg Market, Berlin. (3-5 Oct 2013).
  • Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin, cocreated and led program on ‘Enlivenment’ [Innovationswerkstatt Lebendigkeit] with Hildegard Kurt and Andreas Weber (16 Nov. 2012)
  • European Permaculture Convergence: desigend and faciltated Earth Forum processes for 3-day event, near Kassel (2012)
  • Radius of Art, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Berlin: University of the Trees introduction and Earth Forum process for conference participants; and Agents of Change workshop with Shelley Sacks and Hildegard Kurt (Feb, 2012) 
  • Forum Altenberg, Bern, Switzerland: Designed and led Social Sculpture 3-day seminar for organisation's network (2012)
  • Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World: Introducing Earth Forum and other connective practices as part of a long term consultancy and collaboration. Exeter. (17-18 Nov. 2011)
  • Uberlebenskunst Festival, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin: designed and faciltated connective practice "Sustainabilty with the I-Sense is Nonsense" process for 200 participants. [31 May 2011) 
  • Agents of Change and Ecological Citizenship: Designed and led program, with Hildegard Kurt. 10-days, 20 participants. Oxford.(10-22 July 2011)
  • Green Party “Denkfabrik” Congress: Introduced and faciltated an Earth Forum process as part of the annual congress. Bonn, Germany. (15 Oct, 2011) 
  • Freies Museum, Berlin, for Citizens Art Days: designed and led Earth Forum connective practice for 110 particiants (20-24 Feb 2011) and training for 50 participant (25-26 Feb 2011) 
  • Climate Summit Cultural Programs, South Africa: developed new 'Earth Forum'  connective practice and training process for faciltators for Climate Train, funded by British Council and Commonwealth Institute (2010-11) 
  • RMIT, Melbourne. Every Human Being is an Artist / The Art of Changing One’s Mind[set]. Designed and led 6-day program for 60 members of public and students [with Wolfgang Zumdick]. Commisioned and hosted by the university (June 2010).
  • Institute of Social Banking [GLS Social Bank, Germany]: Advisor, with Dr. Chris Seeley, on integration of Social Sculpture and Connective Practices for 5-day international summer school. (Florence, July 2010) 
  • The Substance Group, 5 x 2-day events for the Conference Team of 'Ursache Zukunft'. Switzerland and Germany (2008 -2010)
  • Fierce Urgency of Now! Nobel Laureate symposium on the Climate Crisis, St. James’ Palace, London. Advisor for Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership; and designed and led social sculpture process using ‘Thought Wedges’ for 150 Laureates and CEOs (May 2009)
  • Weimar Classics Foundation, Germany. Annual International Summer School, two-week program for participants from 30 countries: From Goethe, Schiller and the Bauhaus to Joseph Beuys and Social Sculpture: The Shaping of Humane Societies as an Aesthetic Challenge.  Designed and led with Hildegard Kurt (2004 to 2009)
  • Verein Soziale Plastik, Achberg, Germany. Designed and led 4-day workshop. (Dec 2009)
  • Sustaining Life Project (1999- 2003) developed initiative and coordinated and designed several ‘Interdisciplinary Transactions’ (2003-05) on Rural-Urban Futures . With funding from Paul van Vlissingen, conservationist and Prince Klaus fund board member, and Caroline Tisdall. Included 3-day ‘interdisciplinary transaction’ on Protected Areas, Governance and Social Sculpture Processes for 20 participants from UNESCO, UNDP and sustainable futures scientists from several UK universities.
  • Tate Modern Research Seminars on 'social sculpture and the work of Joseph Beuys' to accompany Joseph Beuys exhibtion: designed and led by Shelley Sacks (6 weeks, April-May 2005)
  • International Social Sculpture Colloquium: Designed and led for Goethe Institute, Glasgow, 5 days. 50 Participants (1995)