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The Role of Teaching Artistry in Systemic Change

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Nov 03, 2017

In a new article in GIA Reader, Eric Booth, teaching artist and long-time Guild collaborator, and Richard Evans, co-founder and president of EmcArts, argue that teaching artistry can be play a vital role in reimagining the processes of community planning and social change. Starting from the premise that conceptions of what teaching artists “should” do are rapidly expanding while citizens are increasingly frustrated with their ability to shape their communities, they argue that the “creative assets and imaginative methods of teaching artists” should be interwoven into formal planning processes.

According to the article, “The silos separating the participatory work of artists in community, organizational, and educational settings are coming down, revealing a large, flexible, increasingly adept, and interconnecting field.” Given that, they wonder, “What might it feel like to live in a community that was creatively imagined in all its interwoven parts?”

To begin to probe this question, “Over the past year, EmcArts has convened an international working group of artists and complexity scientists to explore the potential roles of artistic practices as methodologies to propel radical adaptive change in complex social systems.”

These experiences have led EmcArts to identify five valuable skills that teaching artists can bring to this expanded realm of work:

  1. Being able to work with the surprises of interdependence and unpredictability
  2. Being able to weave new networks and make imaginative connections
  3. Being able to let go of advance planning in favor of experimentation and discovery
  4. Being able to make generative use of sustained uncertainty
  5. Being able to rehearse new pathways and dispassionately let go of our favorite ideas

You can read the full article here

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.