LARGE SCALE SOCIAL CHANGE

We design, run, and support two distinct approaches to large scale social change.

Social Sculpture is the emerging art form of directly engaging thousands or millions of people with artistic and cultural interventions at large scales.  The idea emerged in the 1960s and has become an efficient, powerful means of creating profound social change quickly through the power of culture and collective awareness.

Magenta Studios is the world’s first Social Sculpture consultancy and offers a unique and pioneering approach.

Keep reading to learn more.

In our Whole Systems work, we support “social labs” and other alliance-based approaches to societal change with our extensive training services and multi-stakeholder expertise.  

Whole system techniques convene a team of diverse stakeholders from across a challenge and support them to create solutions together.  Magenta helped pioneer the social labs approach and supports labs to move from good ideas and initiatives to realized solutions.

Jump down the page to learn more about Whole Systems.

SOCIAL SCULPTURE

The art of Social Sculpture engages thousands or even millions of people in direct, in-person culture change for immediate effect. It’s massive scale, participatory engagement for whole-society change.

Social Sculpture began in the 1960s as an outgrowth of performance and Dada art movements in Europe. The idea is to inspire and engage a whole city or region in specific acts of art and play designed to directly impact the whole society. Unlike propaganda and other forms of social engineering, everything is above board and in the open.  Art becomes an invitation, the social opposite of force or coercion. Social Sculpture uses cultural interventions at large scale for massive change.

Some years ago, mayors Antanas Mockus of Bogotá and Edi Rama of Tirana used art to engage their millions of citizens for dramatic, quick, and permanent effect. Their actions helped propel those countries from war and dissipation to peace and regional and international prominence.

And in the 1980s, artist Joseph Beuys first demonstrated the Social Sculpture concept with 7,000 Oaks, a city-wide tree planting and sculpture project designed to help heal the soul and nourish a more human future in postwar Germany.

Today, the art of Social Sculpture is emerging as an exciting and viable methodology for positive change at the largest possible scale. In our view, it will become one of the most effective means of achieving social change in the twenty-first century.

The field of Social Sculpture combines multi-stakeholder collaboration with public art and social threefolding. Magenta Studios advances the art form of Social Sculpture by making it a systematic discipline.

If you want to explore the possibilities of Social Sculpture with us, explore this more detailed description (PDF) and contact us.

Culture and creativity can be systematically tapped for massive change. Here are a few examples of our Social Sculpture approach.

The discipline of Social Sculpture is newly emerging, so most of our work in this area is conceptual and planned for the near future.  If you're interested in starting a Social Sculpture project in your community, contact us!

SS-example-Borl

CASTLE BORL
PTUJ, SLOVENIA

One of our very first adventures took place at Castle Borl in Slovenia. An ancient castle overlooking the Drava River, Borl was a “grail castle,” a sacred site in the middle ages. We helped organize festivals, rebuild the castle, and host thousands of leaders from around the world in a context of intercultural meeting and artistic creativity.

SS-example-disabilities

VANCOUVER INCLUSION (CONCEPT)
VANCOUVER, CANADA

As part of our ongoing work with disability service agencies in Vancouver, we are proposing a Social Sculpture approach to start in the next year or two. The aim of the project will be to accelerate a broader mindset shift regarding the value and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

SS-example-Sarajevo

SARAJEVO STONE CIRCLE (CONCEPT)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

When we visited Sarajevo after the attack in the early 1990s, the city was strewn with rubble and destruction. We envision a giant ring, crafted from local stone and other materials, built by thousands of hands from many nations, around the city — a testament to the past crisis and a universal symbol representing protection and safety.

Want to read more about Social Sculpture? Read the details (PDF).

We see people as thinking, feeling, acting, creative beings, and believe that anyone can be invited and engaged into moments of co-creation.

This is why we work with the truly human at every scale, from individuals to teams, organizations, and whole societies.

Testimonial-Miha-Pogacnik

I have known Jeff and Louisa for more than twenty years.  They are next generation luminaries who carry forward everything I have spent my life advancing: practical and spiritual insights into the nature of being human that provide meaningful ways forward on the most pressing and challenging issues of our times — paths that nourish the best in humanity across all boundaries, political, cultural and otherwise.

Miha Pogacnik - Cultural Ambassador of Slovenia, Violinist

Testimonial-Adam-Kahane

Magenta are artists and social entrepreneurs with a brilliant practical and theoretical understanding of how individuals and teams can bring into being new artistic and social realities.

Adam Kahane - Director at Reos Partners North America, author

Testimonial-Zaid-Hassan

Jeff is someone I have been learning from since the first moment we met a decade and a half ago. Over the years whenever I have wanted to either understand or deepen my practice, I turn to Jeff. From Jeff I don't get cheap, easy or trite answers. I get fundamental insights that go to the heart of my enquiry. Jeff is a master practitioner in the mould of an old master. He knows his craft from long, patient and dedicated attention over decades. Jeff is an antidote to the waves of shallow fashion that sweep the world when it confronts something new. If you want to understand how best to respond to the challenges we face as individuals, as a society and as a species, I would urge you to work with Jeff.

Zaid Hassan - CEO of Roller Strategies, author

Testimonial-Mille-Bojer

When I faced a conflict with a close colleague in a complex project that depended greatly on the two of us and the health of our relationship, we reached out to Louisa and Magenta to help us. Louisa facilitated a process through which we could understand and empathize with each other, and we managed to unblock our relationship and conclude the project successfully.

Mille Bojer - Director at Reos Partners Europe

Testimonial-Julian-Clarke

I worked with Magenta over a number of months both as part of a senior leadership group exploring our personal leadership and also with one on one coaching. My experience was transformative. I was challenged to think extremely differently about the world, myself, others and my business. On a personal level I resolved many issues that had been holding me back. I have used the tools that I was given with my team subsequently and have received similarly amazing feedback from them.

Julian Clarke - Executive Director, Human Resources, Global Enterprise & Services and International & New Business, Telstra

Looking for our Whole Systems work? You’re in the right place.

If you’re exploring how we help teams and organizations, go here.

For Social Sculpture, go here.

WHOLE SYSTEMS

In our Whole Systems work, we support “social labs” and other alliance-based approaches to societal change with our extensive training services and multi-stakeholder expertise. We’ve designed, facilitated, and supported social labs since their beginnings in the mid 2000s, and have played key roles in helping the social lab and other multi-stakeholder approaches become more viable, more effective, and more promising than change programs based on strategic planning.

Social labs are “platforms” that provide opportunities for many stakeholders and organizations to achieve together what they cannot achieve alone. This approach can begin with a single workshop and grow to a thriving collaboration that lasts many years.

We helped pioneer this approach, and we continue to offer focused support, training, course-correction, design work, mentoring and coaching to social lab teams around the world.  If you're interested in social labs, please contact us.

When we support Whole Systems work, we bring all our multi-stakeholder, creativity, communications, and leadership development expertise to serve your capacity building needs in the context of your work.

Building capacity is crucial for success in whole systems work because participants are asked to step far outside their comfort zones and take unfamiliar, game-changing risks. This pushes the edges of even the most seasoned leaders, and that’s where we come in.

We train and support you to work across boundaries, cultures, and teams and get to co-creative, generative, win-win outcomes. We have a one-of-a-kind toolkit and approach for helping your team or alliance understand what’s really going wrong and how to regenerate the roots of healthy communities and cultures.

To learn about our Whole Systems work in detail, check out our brochure here (PDF).

Here are a few examples of our Whole Systems work around the world.

WS-example-Colombia

EVOLUTION COLOMBIA
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

One of the central challenges facing Colombia today is the wide gap between rich and poor. We worked with the Centro de Liderazgo y Gestión (Center of Leadership and Management) to convene several dialogues with key leaders from government, business, and civil society to work together toward national and regional “collective prosperity.”

WS-example-CPL

CHILD PROTECTION LAB
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

From 2009 - 2011, we helped leaders from government organizations, social services, lawyers, judges, communities, families, and other actors address the need to increase the effectiveness of child protection efforts in the state of Victoria, Australia. Such an effort was entirely unprecedented, and sparked significant change efforts within and across the sector.

WS-example-regional-futures

REGIONAL FUTURES
CANADA

We helped diverse leaders in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada) explore possible futures in a scenario exercise focused on immigration, food, energy, and technology, including the (then remote) possibility that the iPhone might threaten the Blackberry, a major source of jobs in the area. Scenario exercises help prepare leaders for a variety of possible futures so that they can respond more intelligently and collectively over the following years or decades.

WS-example-PLUK

PLUK
NETHERLANDS

Pluk was a platform connecting stakeholders from government, business, education and civil society in an effort to address complex challenges in the Netherlands. The program combined personal mastery with social renewal and brought together leaders from climate protection, food, energy, finance, prison reform, immigration, and other challenge areas.

WS-example-50in10

50IN10
UNITED STATES

50in10 was an ambitious international initiative to restore fifty percent of the world’s fisheries in ten years. Between 2013 to 2016, we supported the project team and funders to progress the effort, which ultimately developed a number of tools and resources for efforts designed to restore small-scale fisheries.

Interested in more stories? Go to our Stories Page.

Want to read more about Whole Systems? Read the details (PDF).

Testimonial-Adam-Kahane

Magenta are artists and social entrepreneurs with a brilliant practical and theoretical understanding of how individuals and teams can bring into being new artistic and social realities.

Adam Kahane - Director at Reos Partners North America, author

Testimonial-Mille-Bojer

When I faced a conflict with a close colleague in a complex project that depended greatly on the two of us and the health of our relationship, we reached out to Louisa and Magenta to help us. Louisa facilitated a process through which we could understand and empathize with each other, and we managed to unblock our relationship and conclude the project successfully.

Mille Bojer - Director at Reos Partners Europe

Testimonial-Zaid-Hassan

Jeff is someone I have been learning from since the first moment we met a decade and a half ago. Over the years whenever I have wanted to either understand or deepen my practice, I turn to Jeff. From Jeff I don't get cheap, easy or trite answers. I get fundamental insights that go to the heart of my enquiry. Jeff is a master practitioner in the mould of an old master. He knows his craft from long, patient and dedicated attention over decades. Jeff is an antidote to the waves of shallow fashion that sweep the world when it confronts something new. If you want to understand how best to respond to the challenges we face as individuals, as a society and as a species, I would urge you to work with Jeff.

Zaid Hassan - CEO of Roller Strategies, author

Testimonial-Julian-Clarke

I worked with Magenta over a number of months both as part of a senior leadership group exploring our personal leadership and also with one on one coaching. My experience was transformative. I was challenged to think extremely differently about the world, myself, others and my business. On a personal level I resolved many issues that had been holding me back. I have used the tools that I was given with my team subsequently and have received similarly amazing feedback from them.

Julian Clarke - Executive Director, Human Resources, Global Enterprise & Services and International & New Business, Telstra

Testimonial-Sam-Laban

Jeff is an excellent project lead, and a very good sort of coach and mentor.  He has really compelling and creative ways to think about social change. 

Sam Laban - Education Programs Manager at University of Waterloo

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