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 | | Comments (0) |

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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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rock culture approximately
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Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
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Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
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No genre is the new genre
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Creative Destruction
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The Unanswered Question
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lies like truth
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Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
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Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog