UOT - Lab for new Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future

LAB for New Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future

Communication | Published: 17.01.2020

What's been happening in the UOT LAB!

DEC 2019 -JAN 2020

This message is to share the excitement about some of the processes, projects and plans for 2020-21!

And to thank the many people and organizations that have participated in and are contributing so passionately to UOT LAB Practices, Enquiry Labs, and the evolving Social Sculpture Academy Hubs in Holland & Germany, as well as those in the planning stages in India, Italy, Australia, Brazil, China and South Africa.

Read more for overview about new and ongoing actions, events and training!
Details for EARTH FORUM 2020 Intro and Training in Amsterdam

SOCIAL SCULPTURE PILOT PROGRAM In addition to the new Social Sculpture Academy hubs, the UOT LAB has also successfully run the first stage of its Social Sculpture-Connective Practice pilot program in Holland. Insights from this 3-day intensive provide the seeds and nourishment for initiatives that will be developed in the next 3 stages of the program, until May 2020. The participants will then share their initiatives in a public event and, with Clarine Campagne, will form the core group for facilitating similar UOT LAB programs in Holland.

FELD DER BEGEGNUNG or Willensfeld (Field of Commitment) This is a new ecological citizenship process that was also piloted in Kassel in 2019, facilitated by Martina Schäffer and the UOT Microlab. FELD DER BEGEGNUNG will launch as an ongoing citywide project in early summer 2020 and reach out to inhabitants in all areas of Kassel.

FRAMETALKS - MAKING SOCIAL HONEY This project – for ‘imaginal work and new forms of thinking together’ that enables us to see the lenses and ‘frames’ through which we see ourselves, each other and the world, as well as to explore how we need to rethink core attitudes and conceptions of 5 Realities (Nature, Human Being, Love, Freedom and Future) – has been invited to be a key project in the 30 years German Unity celebrations. This 1-year project will conclude with a ‘conferring-process’ and publication reflecting on what it has done, as well as on the criteria for understanding the value of such work. A huge thanks to Prof. Ulrike Liedtke and Brunhild Matthias of the Brandenburg/Potsdam Landtag for making this possible.

Significantly redesigned since Bern 2011, Berlin 2013 and Kassel 2018, new strategies have been developed to engage more people in FRAMETALKS’s ‘imaginal work’ and ‘thinking together’ process much earlier on. From February to October 2020, it will work in schools with teachers and pupils, city councils and mayors, youth leadership networks, scientists, and with inhabitants in the 14 areas of Brandenburg and its 4 cities including Potsdam, to enable a reflective process on these realities. Instead of trying to impose unity top down, this process focuses on creating spaces for discovering common needs and longings within our different perspectives, and exploring ways to live together without destroying each other and other life forms, on one planet in crisis. The President of the parliament has made possible sufficient funds to train a team to work intensively in the region and for full-time project manager – Brunhild Matthias – who has much experience in the area of ‘Democracy and Integration’ and has also realized large-scale projects in the Deutsche Opera and for Stockhausen! What luck!

EARTH FORUM events & training of "Responsible Participants"! The Earth Forum ‘training’ in Germany in 2019 has given rise to an active facilitators group that meets regularly and is planning an annual gathering for Earth Forum facilitators.

The first EARTH FORUM training in 2020 will take place in Amsterdam, in English, from 27 Feb to 1 March. Venue Iona Stichting. Contact Isolde Jans: isolde.jans@gmail.com or info@universityofthetrees.org.

More info:

KASSEL MICROLAB FOR SOCIAL SCULPTURE The Kassel UOT-Microlab has been involved in planning an expanded version of FRAMETALKS for Kassel 2021, and has set up a methodologies reflection group across the specific UOT LAB practices. The city of Kassel has given the group funding to explore ways forward and for an outreach program. Other social sculpture lab programs are underway in Kassel.

LANDING STRIP FOR SOULS Lots of in depth work has also been done in 2019 through practices like the Landing Strip for Souls, with one focus on ‘renewal in organizations’.

CAPACITIES FOR THE FUTURE In 2019, one key enquiry running through all the UOT LAB’s work has been to do with ‘capacities for the future’. This is a central focus of the new social sculpture pilot program in Holland, and continues to be a key question in all the ongoing work.

FOCUS ON COMMONING Other interrelated foci have been: “an expanded view of the commons and commoning” with students at the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam; “Working with Information and Imaginal Thinking” with two interdisciplinary Masters groups at Kassel University; ‘Shaping the Future We Want” in 8 workshops with students and teachers in Dresden linked to the 100 Years Waldorf School celebrations; and an intensive introduction to the social sculpture-connective practice approach for student-teachers at Leiden Hogeschool.

OPENING NEW DOORS and SOCIAL SCULPTURE ACADEMY-HUBS In 2018-19, the closure the Masters in Social Sculpture at Oxford Brookes, brought sadness and disappointment for many of its alumni. But the limitations of an expensive Masters program in a UK university, with students needing to relocate to Oxford for an extended period, overshadowed the advantages. 5 Doctoral students are continuing. 9 have completed. Discussions are underway to try and accommodate new doctoral and post-doctoral applications, and to enable collaborative research projects.

PROBLEMS with PRIZES? In 2019 we rejected the nomination for a Social Sculpture Prize. We put forward alternatives to such a prize, that we felt less contradictory with the field of social sculpture. Nora Sternfeld, Documenta Research Professor talks about the way the competitive-enterprise mentality has infected artistic and cultural initiatives and "kills all possible other relations”.

WEBSITES, TALKS, BOOKS Work continues on the UOT LAB website to make clear its main foci. 1. The instruments, practices, processes and mentoring offered through its Institute for Eco-Social Practice. 2/ Enquiry Labs and related research processes, and 3/ Initiatives like the Social Sculpture Academy hubs developing in different parts of the world, and 4/ Enabling place-based ‘microlabs’ – like the Kassel, Berlin and Dutch microlabs to develop in a region, city or town.

I am currently trying to gather all my work on my own website. And... I’m also continuing, between all the processes and initiatives, to work on a series of videos and publications – one that will perhaps involve many of you: A BOOK OF EXCHANGES - looking at the social sculpture-connective practice work from different perspectives and experiences.

DATES Dates for the EARTH FORUM and SOCIAL SCULPTURE ACADEMY meetings in Italy in the spring will be posted here soon.

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