University for the Creative Arts logo

Design as Human Interface – Embodying the future of the Creative Economy

“The value of Imagination, Listening and Empathy for creative entrepreneurs”

Wednesday 20 February 2013, 12 noon – 6pm

Venue: Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre

Focusing on design-led research skills, knowledge and understanding with cross-disciplinary applicability this one day workshop, part of a series of AHRC-funded events comprising the Design as Human Interface series, will incorporate creative economy leadership training for postgraduate students, Doctoral students and early-career researchers at UCANUA and CREST institutions.

Workshop 5 will be facilitated by the University of the Trees.

The University of the Trees (UOT) is an alternative mobile university that researches, develops and provides creative strategies, that link imagination and transformation, in personal and collective action towards the development of a humane and ecologically viable future. We would like to invite you to participate in one of our social sculpture forms entitled: Earth Forum, a unique social experience that brings together different citizens to participate in an encounter with their own inner questions, impulses and imaginings and reflect these in the socially connected way through a dynamic exchange. Central to the field of Social Sculpture is linking imagination with transformation, and establishing ways in which people can act in socially connected and empathetic ways. Through direct experience you will be able to explore the value of imagination, listening and empathy in your personal and collective action towards becoming a creative social entrepreneur.  The University of the Trees is seven years old and has grown out of over 30 years of research and practice conducted by its founder Prof. Shelley Sacks who is also the founder and the director of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University.

Conducting this workshop, Dylan McGarry is a social sculpture researcher and practitioner and the Responsible Participant Coordinator for the University of the Trees. He has a PhD in Environmental Education with a particular focus on the role of social sculpture practice in the aesthetic education of the ecological citizen. He has a MSc in Sustainable Rural Development and Environmental Science, and an BSc with honours in Environmental Science and Zoology. Dylan is originally from Kwa-Zulu Natal, in South Africa and works extensively across Southern Africa exploring the interface between inner-individual and outer-community transformation in response to the ecological crisis. He has worked with a variety of citizens from children, teachers, traditional leaders, government officials, artists, and scientists.

What will you need: Your embodied self, which includes your imagination and your attention. Dress warmly as we will be working outside briefly as part of the process. You can bring writing materials, but for much of the process you will not need to take notes.

The workshop will be introduced by Uwe Derksen, Assistant Director Research + Enterprise at the University for the Creative Arts and Head of the Creative Challenge, a triple-bottom line entrepreneurship programme that is also open to participants of  the Design as Human Interface Workshop series, see

Following the workshop there will be a reception event for the Creative Challenge programme open to all workshop participants. This will run from 6.30pm – 9pm. Further details and speakers to be announced later. In the meantime, please email the CREST Research Network Coordinator ( to express an interest in attending.