From Words to Action

By Steven J Tepper

Andrew Taylor might be right that our best step might be to avoid trying to craft the perfect language.  Andras is also right that language alone won't change behavior, especially the behavior of those in power.  

Expressive life is not just a framework for talking; it is framework for thinking and for action (which I believe is the challenge Marian Godfrey sets out for us in her post).  

 I am compelled by Bill's simple formulation:

"Will policy x enhance the expressive lives of individuals and communities by making heritage and the tools of creativity more available, or will the policy increase costs, erect barriers, or limit access?"  Costs, barriers, access.   In some ways, what expressive life recaptures is a more robust notion of "freedom of expression."  Rather than think narrowly about how our freedoms are constricted by the authoritarian force of government and censorship, we should consider all of the ways in which corporations, government, and nonprofit institutions restrict the freedom of ideas to flow between citizens.  

 Costs, barriers, access.  This formulation does indeed broaden the frame and it clarifies who the allies are - it is not slow food advocates (as much as I like their cause and feel their goals are sympathetic to a vibrant expressive life), but rather media reform, free expression, localism, media literacy, IP, etc.  In fact, I think nonprofits can regain their status if they defend themselves as critical institutions for generating access to and exchange of ideas for and between citizens (especially in light of Adrian's late capitalism - which runs roughshod over such concerns).  They -nonprofits - can be key nodes in the expressive life grid.   

January 27, 2010 8:49 AM | |


This Conversation 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 more

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary