What you see...

I've been writing poetry since I was a baffled teen, about forty years. I have published four books of poetry and have just completed my fifth collection, "The Invisible Library". I am also a culture worker, editor, and publisher (Hagios Press).

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Good Question

"Why is it important that I engage in a cultural activity?”

"Let me ask you this, have ever given yourself permission to explore your own inventiveness?"

 "What do I mean by 'inventiveness'?"

"I mean, the power of your own creativity. Can you remember a time when you created something  entirely your own: drawing a landscape you loved, a performance of a dance from your culture, speaking your grandfather's language,  writing a story, telling the story, composing on your guitar, making a quilt for a grandchild, can you remember what your 'inventiveness' felt like?"

"Yes I can, it felt as if creativity was flowing out of me, as if I was bringing forth this wonderful thing from deep inside of me."

"That's why."

"That's why what?"

"That's why it's important for you to engage in a cultural activity, so you can experience the power of your own creativity and then share it with others."

"Will anyone even be interested in what I have to share?"

"Yes, by engaging in cultural activities, you and others are enriching your community. Soon more people will give themselves permission  to express their inventiveness."

"That would be a very good thing, wouldn't it?"

"It sure would."

This invented conversation isn’t as Utopian as it might first appear
I recently read about a cultural research paper* that defined the term “Inventive Mode of Cultural Participation” as referring to “activity that engages the persons mind and body in an activity in artistic creation, regardless of his or her talent and real talent of the discipline undertaken.”

This term really resonated with me. Every artist from the amateur to the highly accomplished professional has passed through this “inventive” stage phase. Many never transcend it but I believe many do and go on to develop broader interests in the arts. This threshold of engagement in cultural activity can be powerful as it is a holistic experience that involves both the body and the mind.
Once someone engages in “inventive” participation in culture and the arts and stays engaged, the participant can soon associate certain personal and external benefits to this activity. Soon they see a shift in their awareness and perception as the imagination is engaged and the brain stimulated. The whole concept of self-expression is broadened and feelings and opinions that may not have had an outlet are manifested through inventive practices. This new form of expression may also allow for the integration the participant’s inner life and world view.
Cultural engagement allows people to develop and appreciate important personal values such as a sense of identity, self-esteem, pride and dignity. I’m not saying that everyone is an artist and can achieve great things through participation in cultural activity or an art form. Yet it seems clear to me that engagement in culture and the arts builds understanding on both the personal level and the societal level.
I have had opportunities as a writer, editor, mentor and now as an Artist Animateur to bring people along this path, and it is gratifying work. Programs such as Culture Days are very successful in encouraging engagement in the arts and culture and have had a positive impact on many, many people, yet there is always more to be done in regards to expanding and diversifying cultural participation within Saskatchewan and across Canada
* The Values Study, Connecticut Council on Tourism and Culture (2004), quoted in No Culture, No Future (2010) by Simon Brault.

No comments:

Post a Comment