The Talking Cure, Part II (discussion and debate)

debating cartoon

Conversation is a way of cooperating with other people in a public way. It is a reciprocal undertaking. In participating in a spontaneous social conversation, for instance, we engage in a culturally determined and understood set of rules (you talk and I listen, then I talk and you listen). The word itself refers to a structure of turn-taking between speaker and listener. The Latin roots—conversari … [Read more...]

The Talking Cure, Part One (networking)

quote bubbles

Talk defines our culture and our daily lives (an average person talks from six to twelve hours per day). In the next several posts I’m going to explore the nature and function of talking and ask some key questions about the role of productive talk in creating a more vibrant arts ecology. As I argue in Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era, productive talk (whether it is … [Read more...]

The H Word

letter H

“Hospitality” is a new buzz word in the arts right now—a by-product of a surrounding participatory ethos in leisure activity and the attendant urge to open our doors in new, more friendly and generous ways. I’m all for it. I love Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis’ adaptation of the concept of “radical hospitality,” a term with roots in both spiritual and feminist practices. At Mixed Blood, … [Read more...]

Odious Comparisons: Arts and Sports

Cezanne apples and oranges

Yes, I know. Apples are apples and the arts aren’t sports. I’ve been writing and giving talks about what the arts and sports have in common and what our industry can learn from the sports industry for over a decade now. I still receive a fair amount of resistance to the comparison from my fellow arts workers (sports fans are primarily interested in competition, not aesthetics; the sports … [Read more...]

Whose Audience?


Or, should I ask: who’s the audience? I launched this blog in late January, but up to now I haven’t really discussed the considerable complication associated with use of this word. I’d like to begin to do that with this post. In English-speaking contexts, the term audience (from the Latin auditorium, or hearing place) is generally interchangeable with spectator (from the Latin specere, to … [Read more...]