Do we need a new language?

Bill Ivey, U.S. author and advocate for matters creative has been struggling for years to make a new language for arts policy.

Douglas McLennan, the editor of Arts Journal, recently hosted a week-long conversation dissecting Ivey’s concept, Expressive Life.

Douglas begins by asking, ‘are the terms “Art” and “Culture” tough enough to frame a public policy carve-out for the 21st century? Are the old familiar words, weighted with multiple meanings and unhelpful preconceptions, simply no longer useful in analysis or advocacy? In his book, Arts, Inc., Bill Ivey advances “Expressive Life” as a new, expanded policy arena – a frame sufficiently robust to stand proudly beside “Work Life,” “Family Life,” “Education,” and “The Environment.” Is Ivey on the right track, or is “Expressive Life” a dead end?’

The debate is fascinating. As one of the participants says at the conclusion: ‘the dialog here has made important and critically necessary contributions to the process of developing a robust conceptual and intellectual framework for the argument that all individuals have a right to fully experience their creative capacity’.

Thank you Arlene Goldbard for drawing my attention to this debate.

2 thoughts on “Do we need a new language?

  1. John Smithies

    Hi Jono, – ‘Expressive Life’ is a dead duck. It is hard enough keeping up with the evolution of what art is to different societies at different times without having to invent or learn a new word to say the same thing. I am a fan of ‘art’ as what I do; and ‘arts’ as the collective term for what others do as well.

    I make art in my “Work Life,” my “Family Life,” as part of my “Education,” and in the “The Environment.”

    1. Lynda Newton

      Hi Jono, I agree with John S. The A word has been around for time immemorial and I love it !! Lets embrace the A word as it’s part of our human legacy and history , and for me it is very meaningful. Umm, ‘Expressive Life’ …gosh what have we been doing ???


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