The “3-Person Sculpture” or “Power Sculpture” is one of the most visibly and viserally engaging tools in the toolbox.
Ask for three volunteers to act in the exercise. (I usually ask them one at a time.) Invite the first volunteer to lie face-down on the floor. The second volunteer stands beside the first and puts his/her foot on the upper back of the first one. Place a chair behind the standing volunteer and invite the third volunteer to stand on the chair with his/her arm around the neck of the second person.
The facilitator then interviews each participant in the sculpture. (Get down on the floor to interview the bottom participant!) Questions can include: How do you feel about your position? What do you notice? What are you most aware of or concerned about? For a second round of questions you can explore what they might to do change their situation (if they want to), what that might look like, and perhaps even invite them to act out what they would like to do.
Care for the Participants:
This tool can be a little risky, so as facilitator you must take care of the participants so nobody gets hurt. The #1 concern is the placement of the foot of the middle person on the back of the person lying down. DO NOT have them put their foot on the lower back. Rather have them put the foot on the upper back where the back gets additional protection from the ribs. Also make sure that the person doesn’t put their weight on the person lying down. Most people understand that, but some participants may be dangerously playful. Be sure the chair for the top person is stable. For the person on the bottom you can put a sheet of flip chart paper on the floor if needed, and perhaps a piece of paper on the back where the foot would be placed.
To follow-up the Sculpture Exercise you can get into John Paul Lederach’s Social Pyramid to look at the different sectors of society and the kind of peace-building work that is most pertinent for each sector. Click here to see Lederach’s Pyramid and thoughts about how to use this tool. Click here to download International Alert’s sheet on Lederach’s Pyramid: Lederach’s Pyramid.