Culture Sculpture

When creating a Cultural Probe this year, I had a specific age range in mind. The purpose of creating a kit for 11-14-year-olds was to observe their interest in making and see how the students visualized the concept of ‘culture.’

Culture sculpture is a workshop in which participants create an abstract sculpture using geometric and abstract pieces of acrylic, wood, and fabric that embodies a part of their culture. A small card describing what culture can embody and instructions were included in the kit. When assembling each kit I used abstract and geometric pieces of acrylic, wood, fabric in a multitude of colors except black or white. Having the students visualize culture outside of skin color was a goal. Interactivity was encouraged between the students to trade for pieces needed to complete their sculpture.

The engagement of the students depended on their age the older students appeared to be disinterested, while the younger students were fully engaged in making and creating their concept of culture. I even let some of my peers that had asked for a kit make sculptures from a leftover kit. They were more attentive than the younger students. From appearance, they used the experience as a creative, mindful break.


Lisa McKinley 2019 – Brooklyn, NY