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139.133 Creative Communication: Creativity and Culture

A lecture as part of the 133 Creative Communication paper offered by Massey University, Auckland
by

Rand Hazou

on 7 July 2016

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Transcript of 139.133 Creative Communication: Creativity and Culture

Creative Arts
Creative Arts are informed by culture.
Culture
Culture is informed by Creative Arts.
Creative arts emerge out of a social, cultural and political context.
Creative arts give expression to what is distinctive about different cultural groups.
Creative Arts can help express cultural identity.

Cultural space is subject to continuous contest and change.
Creative arts can help maintain cultural identity and cultural resilience.
Creative arts can change prevailing culture by articulating changing cultural identities.
Creative arts can be instruments of social and cultural change.

139.133 Creative Communication
Creativity and Culture
Dr. Rand Hazou
Email: r.t.hazou@massey.ac.nz
Creative Arts
Culture
The Oxford English Dictionary describes culture as, ‘The distinctive ideas, customs, social behavior, products, or way of life of a particular nation, society, people, or period.’ (Cited by Willis, Emma. ‘Chapter Six: Creativity and Culture’, Study Guide, p. 1).
What is Culture?
According to Anthropologist Clifford Geertz, culture is:

'the stories we tell ourselves about our selves’.
What is Culture?
Clifford Geertz (1926 – 2006)
How do you understand and define culture?
What is Culture?
I understand culture as a way of ‘being’ in the world. Culture can help locate us in the present by telling us where we’ve come from. But by helping us live in the present, culture can also help us navigate the future.
Let's stay with Anthropology for a while...
What is Culture?
An·thro·pol·o·gy:

Noun
The study of humankind, in particular.
The comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development.
Wade Davis
Edmund Wade Davis (born December 14, 1953) is a Canadian anthropologist, author and photographer whose work has focused on worldwide indigenous cultures, especially in North and South America and particularly involving the traditional uses and beliefs associated with psychoactive plants. Davis came to prominence with his 1985 best-selling book 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' about the zombies of Haiti. Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society.
Wade Davis and Anthropology
“The central revelation of anthropology […] is the idea that the world in which we live does not exist in some absolute sense, but is just one model of reality, the consequence of one particular set of adaptive choices that our lineage made, albeit successfully, many generations ago”
(Davis, ‘Dreams from Endangered Cultures’, TED, 2003).
Wade Davis and the 'Ethnosphere'
"All of these peoples teach us that there are other ways of being, other ways of thinking, other ways of orienting yourself in the Earth. And this is an idea, if you think about it, [that] can only fill you with hope. Now, together the myriad cultures of the world make up a web of spiritual life and cultural life that envelops the planet, and is as important to the well-being of the planet as indeed is the biological web of life that you know as a biosphere. And you might think of this cultural web of life as being an ethnosphere, and you might define the ethnosphere as being the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. The ethnosphere is humanity's great legacy. It's the symbol of all that we are and all that we can be as an astonishingly inquisitive species”
(Davis, ‘Dreams from Endangered Cultures’, TED, 2003).
On Indigenous cultures...
Wade Davis and the 'Ethnosphere'
“The truth is the 20th century, 300 years from now, is not going to be remembered for its wars or its technological innovations, but rather as the era in which we stood by and either actively endorsed or passively accepted the massive destruction of both biological and cultural diversity on the planet.”
(Davis, ‘Dreams from Endangered Cultures’, TED, 2003).
Wade Davis and the 'Ethnosphere'
“Now, the problem isn't change. All cultures through all time have constantly been engaged in a dance with new possibilities of life. And the problem is not technology itself. The Sioux Indians did not stop being Sioux when they gave up the bow and arrow any more than an American stopped being an American when he gave up the horse and buggy. It's not change or technology that threatens the integrity of the ethnosphere. It is power, the crude face of domination. Wherever you look around the world, you discover that these are not cultures destined to fade away; these are dynamic living peoples being driven out of existence by identifiable forces that are beyond their capacity to adapt to … .”
(Davis, ‘Dreams from Endangered Cultures’, TED, 2003).
Wade Davis: Dreams from endangered cultures
FILMED FEB 2003 • POSTED JAN 2007 • TED2003
Are Schools Killing Creativity?
Creativity & Culture
Sir Ken Robinson led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His 2009 book, ‘The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything’, is a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 21 languages.
Are Schools Killing Creativity?
Creativity & Culture
In his TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence
Are Schools Killing Creativity?
Creativity, Education & Culture
"And my contention is, all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly. So I want to talk about education and I want to talk about creativity. My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status".
(Ken Robinson, ‘How schools kill creativity’, TED, 2006)
Are Schools Killing Creativity?
Creativity, Education & Culture
“What we do know is, if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original […]. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this, by the way. We stigmatize mistakes. And we're now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities. Picasso once said this - he said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it”
(Ken Robinson, ‘How schools kill creativity’, TED, 2006)
An Educational Hierarchy
Creativity, Education & Culture
"Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. […] At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on Earth. And in pretty much every system too, there's a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn't an education system on the planet that teaches dance everyday to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not?”
(Ken Robinson, ‘How schools kill creativity’, TED, 2006)
An Educational System Rooted in Industrialism of 19th Cent.
Creativity, Education & Culture
"So the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas. Number one, that the most useful subjects for work are at the top. So you were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that. [...] And the second is academic ability, which has really come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image. If you think of it, the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. And the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn't valued, or was actually stigmatized.
(Ken Robinson, ‘How schools kill creativity’, TED, 2006)
Ken Robinson, ‘How schools kill creativity’
FILMED FEB 2006 • POSTED JUN 2006 • TED2006
Purapurawhetu
The play can be situated as part of resurgence in Maori language and tikanga (customs and culture) that gained focus in the 1970's.
The play, and the work of Maori playwrights like Briar Grace-Smith, serves a vital function in sustaining Maori cultural identity in general and highlighting the presence of Maori cultural identity on the stage.
The current generation of Maori playwrights has ‘laid claim to the stage by speaking with their own voice while transforming the space itself from one of neutrality and entertainment into one that is literally inscribed by culture and turned into Maori space’ (Peterson, 127).
Cultural Hybridity
Hybridity is the antidote to essentialist notions of identity and ethnicity (Pieterse, 71).

Cultural syncretism refers to the methodology of montage and collage, to ‘cross-cultural plots of music, clothing, behaviour, advertising, theatre, body language, or visual communication, spreading multi-ethic and multi-centric patterns (Pieterse, 72).
Pieterse, Jan Nederveen. ‘Globalisation as Hybridisation’, in Robertson & White (eds.) Globalisation: Critical Concepts in Sociology. London: Routledge, 2003.
The fusion of different cultural forms and voices is one of the distinctive features of contemporary culture. American hip hop, for example, has had a profound influence on a number of cultures around the world, yet each place that its influence has extended to has developed its own particular inflection of hip hop culture, which then in turn influences its American origin. King Kapisi’s (Bill Urale) song, “Screams from the Old Plantation,” takes hip hop as the vehicle for talking about the complexities of migrant culture: what does it mean to be a Samoan born and raised in New Zealand?

(Willis, Emma. ‘Chapter Six: Creativity and Culture’, Study Guide, p. 6).
Challenging cultural values through creative arts
Challenging cultural values through creative arts
King Kapisi, 'Screams From Da Old Plantation' (2000)
Challenging cultural values through creative arts
King Kapisi, 'Screams From Da Old Plantation' (2000)
"Its just my savage instincts coming back from the brink
Revitalise the knowledge that we lost (you better think)
Culture ebbing’s being lost in the ignorance from the ma to the pa to the child
Wonder why your child is running round real wild
Pass on the knowledge so the tongue leaves its cradle
Or take them back home to the motherland and teach
The ways of our elders’ lifestyles and the speech"

Creative Arts Transforming Culture
For Brecht theatre is an instrument of social change:

‘I wanted to take the principle that it was not just a matter of interpreting the world but of changing it, and apply that to the theatre’

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Theatre Director Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)
Creative Arts Transforming Culture
Awareness campaign created by Duval Guillaume Modem and produced by monodot in support of STOP THE TRAFFIK.
The campaign works to inspire, inform, equip and mobilise communities to:

Know what trafficking is and how to identify it
Know how to protect themselves and others
Know how to respond
Stop the Traffik
http://www.stopthetraffik.org/
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a global movement of individuals, communities and organisations fighting to prevent human trafficking around the world.
Flashmobing the CTO's production of Porgy and Bess (2010)
On 22 March 2010, the Israeli Opera announced that its twenty-sixth season would be opened by a production of Gershwin’s
Porgy and Bess
performed by the South African Cape Town Opera (CTO). In response, on 15 November 2010, around 40 Israeli activists staged a Flashmob outside the Tel Aviv Opera House to protest the CTO’s tour
BDS: Cultural Boycott
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel began in 2005. Inspired by the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, BDS adopts a rights-based and non-violent approach to pressure the Israeli state to comply with international law and respect the rights of Palestinians by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands (occupied in 1968) and dismantling the wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as stipulated in UN Resolutions 194.

Read more about BDS at:
http://www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign Against Israel
Best-selling authors like Iain Banks, Alice Walker and Henning Mankell have endorsed the boycott against Israel. Top artists have canceled visits and performances in Israel due to its violation of international law and Palestinian rights. Concert cancellations by Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana, The Pixies, and Faithless, among others, has added credence to the impact of the campaign. World-renowned filmmakers from Jean-luc Godard and the 'Yes Men' to Mike Leigh have also headed the boycott and stayed away from Israeli festivals. Even long before this latest swelling of support for the cultural boycott of Israel, renowned authors and cultural figures of the calibre of John Berger, Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy, Ken Loach, John Greyson, and Judith Butler have supported BDS

Read more at:
http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/cultural-boycott
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign Against Israel
What is Culture?
Full transcript