social sculpture

Event on 18th April

In Elements of becoming a self on April 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Last night a group of people came together to take part in an event using my work, ‘The Search for the Deep Self,’ as the container for an event which had as its aim to connect people who care about community and transformation.There was a wide section of expertise there, but also a common enthusiasm for people and community,for the urban and the natural environment.
We began with a short introduction where I quoted the motto of the designer William MacDonough. He says of design and of any thing that we do we need to ask how will it effect everything for the next seven generations. Out of this attitude he has become a pioneer for the The New Industrial Revolution where business and manufacturing is successful and effective but does no harm to people or the environment. If you are interested you can read his book, From Cradle to Cradle.
After the introduction people engaged with the project and then came together in a conversation cafe where we responded to two questions.
How did reading the stories effect you?
What are your dreams for your community?
We then had a conversation in a circle within the container of the project.
In is often the case that we have private passions and ideals which we have to modify in our working life. As the process unfolded between us I experienced how the private passion and ideals and everyday life began to move together and become congruent.
These are hard times. However what became clear yesterday is that we can meet together and share resources and begin to plan and create a different world where what we really value, human potential and the earth that sustains us, can really flourish.
It is clear from our conversations that there are effective means to make our aspirations visible and to contribute to transformation in Stourbridge.
Please stay in touch if you would like to keep exploring these dreams for the future and building networks of expertise and shared passion.

  1. Many thanks for inviting me to your special event last night at the Glasshouse. It was good to meet up with so many committed local people who care so deeply about the local area and have exciting ideas and plans for the future. It was really encouraging that senior officers from Dudley Council, Dudley Community Partnership and Dudley CVS came along and made such positive contributions. Please continue to involve the members of Dudley Arts Council in any further meetings and do keep us in the loop with any future developments.

  2. On two different occasions I have been invited to the Ruskin Glass Centre Stourbridge to experience Deborah’s exhibition ‘ Becoming a Self ‘.
    We are encouraged to read of the experiences spoken from the hearts of others, the courage of their lives expressed, the stories reflect our own human vulnerability; we sense that we have permission to open our hearts to others. The dimension of possibilities shifts and we recognise how empowered we can be.
    The work is a catalyst for bringing people together to ignite potential for change within the community.
    Thank you – may it grow!

  3. There was generally an atmosphere of curiosity, chat and interest at first, but also a certain reserve. In reading the stories of people’s biographies, of those moments when a new understanding takes people more deeply into who they are, the atmosphere changed to one of quiet depth, of people being moved and tapping into something more profound within themselves. The plenum that ended the evening could have been just another meeting to talk about potential plans for Stourbridge and the area, but the group took it deeper – what can we do to influence the developers, the Council? How can our voice calling for what we need be heard? How can we work together to bring about change that is about celebrating our humanity, not only building nice gateways and trying to get the developers to listen to us? I would be surprised if this evening does not lead to some new and wonderful things happening!

  4. Thanks for this uplifting event, a mixture of friendly encounters, deep-going feelings and practical planning; above all, it gave me a rare glimpse of hope that the rift between the disempowered individual and the powers-that-be can in fact be crossed. Deborah’s project has the effect of breaking down barriers – in oneself to start with and then between people – and can bring about a beautiful alchemy between people who are up for it.

  5. Thank you for yet another opportunity to be involved in your work. The container that was created by your project offered such creative possibilities and much potential for development outwardly and inwardly. I am always touched and reminded of my deeper purpose when I read the stories, they help me access what is important. This was the perfect backdrop to talk with others about what we want and need to develop in the Dudley Borough. Jane Chase

  6. Taking a realist standpoint the evening went well and was a good beginning of a process that hopefully will continue. I was sorry that Robin had no partner from the planning side, he did very well. While it is true that artists are used to and are engaged in creative processes, I felt that so many being there brought a slight tendency to polarise, as the environmental and social concerns seemed more reticent. But I realise in saying this I am switching to a more idealistic standpoint that would hope for a more level playing field between the different aspects. I was very grateful for Tom’s remark about artists not just leaving it to the planners and then criticizing, but developing initiative toward generating concepts as well as social and financial support for them.
    It would be great if this meeting could become a kind of co-operative activity in which a sufficiently active vision for and within the given planning boundaries so that also developers would join and the whole thing could become a cultural/social/real colaboration.
    Finally, “thank you” for bringing this together. Hopefully it will continue to grow.


    On 18th April, I was invited to attend a social sculpture event at the Glasshouse College, where we viewed Deborah’s Becoming a Self exhibition and considered what ideas we had for the future of Stourbridge and how we could make these reality.  Within the time, I read about eight of the stories and the ones of Sophie Scholl and Traudl Junge, most struck a chord with my life at the moment, though my life is much less dramatic or significant in relation to the impact I have on others.  Sophie’s dream before she was executed told of an idea prevailing in spite of obstacles and being permitted to be a pioneer of that idea, though dying early for the sake of it.  I have been called a ‘quiet radical’, in that I have ideas seen to be radical – against the grain, though don’t shout about them, though quietly try to influence others.  This ‘label’ is both pleasing and frustrating to me as I don’t see myself as radical as I consider my ideas are ‘common sense’ or for the ‘greater good’ though rules and regulations get in the way of their fruition, yet I understand how they are different from the norm of those who hold the power.  I feel that I am ‘quiet’ because I am a coward and I am a coward because I feel vulnerable – I believe in my ideas though am frightened by the repercussions of shouting about them.  For example, I am responsible for earning an income for my family, which would not be easy if I lost my job because of airing my views.  Traudl’s story conversely is about lacking the courage to face facts and being unwilling to act.  Perhaps I would perform differently in a life or death situation…   


    I found thinking about my dreams for Stourbridge did not sit comfortably alongside the soul-searching of how the Becoming a Self stories effected me.  It was too much of a move for me from the internal and the personal to thinking logically about how to influence a regulatory planning document.  Plus, in our group, we talked about ‘Community’ as opposed to Stourbridge, which is quite different to me as I am involved in many communities of interest that span many geographies.  Such as I volunteer and influence services relating to children’s disabilities.  I thought the two halves of the event were like 2 separate events, which I valued separately for their own purposes.

  8. This was a good opportunity to bring together local interested parties to discuss networking and shaping stourbridges future, with the backdrop of a local artists work to provide context. It is important that these discussion spaces exist to provide an interface for which planners and other parties can engage. My recomendations for the future would be to try and widen the cross section of attendes as many of the people who responed to the invitations were familiar faces, how we do this im not quite sure, perhaps push local interest groups (e.g. the dudley arts council) to attend in greater numbers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: