The Power and the Glory: Power Fields of Art-making in Culture and Community

By Faye Stanley and Janinka Greenwood.

Published by The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Renowned anthropologist Victor Turner spoke of “power fields” in ritualistic performance that are dynamic in nature. These power fields provide for a juxtaposition of oppositional forces that, according to Turner, create an experience that is more meaningful than the sum of its parts. In arts experiences, the interdependence of people and groups creates an imbalance that relies on the structure and form of the experience to contain and organize. This imbalance ensures movement and dynamism of the ritual form, as participants impose their own agendas on the form through their improvisational creations. This article reviews two group workshops wherein participants share in experiences that are derived from cultural rituals, and respond to them in improvisational ways. This experience allows participants to interact with the ritual, bringing their own ideas, identity, and power to the experience. These two settings provide an interdisciplinary lens through which to examine the improvisational contributions of participants. How is personal power provided for in such experiences? How do we conduct meaningful research that employs this collaborative and participatory model? The fields of education, drama, music, visual arts, and cultural studies are employed as lens through which to examine these questions.

Keywords: Improvisation, Arts Integration, Culturally Responsive Learning, Drama Education, Visual Arts Education, Music in Education

The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review, Volume 7, pp.51-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 263.192KB).

Faye Stanley

PhD Candidate, College of Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

As both a teaching artist and educator, Faye Stanley’s focus is on diversity and arts integration across the curriculum. She has designed and conducted hundreds of workshops, residencies and trainings for teachers and students on learning through the arts. Faye holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Education, Music Therapy, and Education, and is currently conducting doctoral research at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand on culturally responsive learning through the arts in New Zealand and the US. Faye is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist for their Changing Education Through the Arts program, directed Duke University’s Arts and Engagement Project, and also consults for state and federal grant initiatives, advisory panels, Head Start, Wolf Trap, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, A+ Schools, Staff Development for Educators, and others in the US. Faye has performed as an actor, storyteller, rock and folk musician, and enjoys leading community music-making.

Prof. Janinka Greenwood

Associate Dean and Professor, Education and Applied Drama, College of Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Janinka Greenwood is Professor of Education and Applied Drama at the College of Education and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Studies in Education at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her research is based in a group of interconnected areas: education, theatre and the intercultural space where these take place. While some of her projects are in one or the other of these separate areas, she is keenly interested in where they overlap and extend our conceptualisations of aesthetics, semiotics, scholarship and knowledge. Professor Greenwood has published widely and is an editor for a number of journals. Her works include “Arts-Based Research: Weaving Magic and Meaning,” “Tracing the Voyage of an Ancestral Canoe: Working in Drama Cross-Culturally” and “Te Mauri Pakeaka: A Journey into the Third Space,” to name a few.