Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arts in Missions

Just back from a week-long conference in the UK for Arts in Missions!  It was sponsored by Graduate Institute of Linguistics (GIAL), Int'l Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE) and All Nations College.  So fantastic to be among 70 or so like-minded, artsy missions types!  The conference was a "test drive" of the Arts in Missions manual that Brian Schrag of GIAL is compiling, to be released by Urbana 2012.  I was honored to be one of the trainers for the event, and am also helping with some of the drama portions of the manual.

Just a sample of what it's like with arts-types:
visual processors

Visual learners/processors mixed with traditional note-takers in working through the material presented, processing it visually, with this result...

The end result

We were working through an oral verbal art form among the Sakha people of Siberia.  The form, called Ohokhai, involves a participatory round dance, a call and response 7-syllable (preferably with lots of alliteration) rhyme scheme, and is identified as a core part of Sakha culture.  

The Arts in Missions manual walked us through the research, interview, creation and critique aspect of discovering indigenous arts... and then the entire conference created their own mini ohokhais!   

Below is a picture of the final night, when everyone danced the ohokhai on the lawn of All Nations!
AiM participants do an Ohokhai

Other sessions looked at particular artistic domains and how to analyze and create appropriate local pieces.  I co-led the drama artistic domain session, and once again enjoyed working with an international group of thespian-minded people!  We looked at the Kenyan drama that was performed in the movie "The Constant Gardener," analyzed it and then attempted to create something of a similar genre.  
All in 2 hours!

Here's a picture of drama worldwide:  in just this small group are represented Kenya, Burkina Faso, India, Jamaica, Mozambique, France, United Kingdom and United States!

Dramatists from around the world