Who am I?
My name is Ivan Kirchgaesser. I am a queer writer, drag artist and independent researcher interested in learning from life. Currently I am based in Berlin, Germany. My background is in Fine Art and Social Sculpture. In December 2020 I completed my PhD at Oxford Brookes University: 'For the Love of Reality: Social Sculpture as Self-Experiment'.
This blog evolves around the question how people can develop the necessary capacities to become creative co-shapers of society. It features different projects, each one being like a season with different episodes. Projects include Exploring Global Citizenship, DIY Learning Spaces, and LIFE = ART.
Why 'artists of society'?
My background is in Social Sculpture & Connective Practice. The term 'social sculpture' was coined by German artist Joseph Beuys, who also said that 'every human being is an artist'. By that he meant that every person can develop the perceptive, imaginative, reflective, and communicative capacities required to become a creative co-shaper of society. Society could thus be shaped as a work of art - as social sculpture.
I have studied and worked in this area since 2012, when I came to Oxford to do an MA in Social Sculpture. During this time, I was connected to the Social Sculpture Research Unit, which was founded by former Beuys student Professor Shelley Sacks. She took on the question of how to develop pedagogical strategies and connective practices that would enable people to build these creative capacities for becoming agents of change in society.
In the face of the current ecological and social crises, social sculpture today means that we need to widen our considerations of how we shape society to include a planetary perspective. Also, it is essential that all people can find a way to meaningfully and creatively contribute to the process of shaping a viable future – not only those in power. To achieve this, new approaches, practices, and ways of thinking are required in all dimensions of society.
If you would like to read any of these texts, drop me a message and I will send you the PDF.
Kirchgaesser, I. (2021) ‘Dark Realism: An auto/biographical enquiry into creative strategies of queer
resilience’, in Clover, D.E., Harman, K. & Sanford, K. (eds.) Feminism, adult education and
creative possibility: Imaginative responses. London: Bloomsbury. To be published in 2021.
Kirchgaesser, I. (2020) For the Love of Reality: Social Sculpture as Self-Experiment. PhD thesis. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University.
Kirchgaesser, I. (2020) ‘Renewal from the margins: Change-oriented adult education in do-it yourself
learning spaces’, in Bulajić, A., Nikolić, T. & Vieira, C.C. (eds.) Navigating through Contemporary
World with Adult Education Research and Practice. Belgrade: Institute for Pedagogy and
Andragogy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade; ESREA – European Society for
Research on the Education of Adults; Adult Education Society Serbia, pp. 59-74.
Kirchgaesser, I. (2020) ‘The mystery of transformation: On journeying into the unknown’, in Holthoff, T.
& Salminen, S. (eds.) Transformative Learning Journeys: Venturing into the wilds of Global
Citizenship Education. Bridge47, pp. 87-98.
The views expressed on this blog are my own or my fellow contributors'. They don't reflect the views of any particular institution.