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Title: 'Energy Trees' for a humane and viable future : a social sculpture approach linking individual and social capital
Author: Palmi, Maris
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 3982
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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This reflective commentary is an exploration into pragmatic and encouraging ways of how to become actively involved in the field of social sculpture. Inspired by Joseph Beuys’ famous quote ‘every human being is an artist’, this practice-based research study supports the hypothesis that, as potential artists, each human being is highly talented, and therefore able to bring great value to their communities and to the wider society. It suggests that one meaningful gift we could make to our society is developing and employing our talents – our unique inner capital – for social benefit and the common good; and that the consequence of this significant contribution would be synergetic growth and development of both individual and social capital. Therefore it would be of equal benefit to individuals, society, and environment. This study is informed and inspired by a set of dialogues and exchanges with Professor Shelley Sacks: the founder and director of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, and a leading expert, researcher, and developer in the field of contemporary social sculpture. The core part of this practice-based study, which is entitled the ‘Energy Trees’ project, is an exploration of how to create a space and conditions in which individuals can focus consciously on their positive qualities. The main components framing this practice are social sculpture strategies such as gifting attention, visualising the invisible, reflective dialogue, and imaginal thought, combined with its central methodological element of positive focus. Together these elements create a methodology that enables a more enlivening, encouraging, and connective way of perceiving the self, its social value, and its potential to contribute to sustainable and humane forms of social development. This process has been undertaken with twenty self-selecting participants who nevertheless reflect different backgrounds and age groups. Offering an artistic counterbalance to the destructive negativity, which seems to predominate in many current views, the visual embodiment of these twenty processes has confirmed the diversity and richness of human talents, capacities, and strengths. This study has also confirmed that more frameworks in which individuals could engage with their invisible inner capital are needed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available