Special Issue: Volume 2, Issue 2
“A Catalogue of Cultural Conversations”
This special issue includes shorter versions of the journal’s Longform, Brushstrokes, and Multimedia essays. The Brushstrokes essays serve as a written component for the 33 participants in the Global Cultural Fellows program at the Institute for International Cultural Relations at The University of Edinburgh. The fellows’ pictures are included with their articles. The Longform and Multimedia essays are written by the program’s faculty coordinators and outside writers that were invited to share their perspectives.
Theme 1: Highs and Lows
High and low refers to the difference between traditional art, like classical music or ‘national’ art forms, and commercialized art such as television series. Terms such as highbrow and lowbrow culture are used to distinguish taste in art and participation in such activities. It is important to recognize how various art forms fit into each category, but also how they interact or are excluded from one another in cultural programming and writing. Highs and lows can equally stand for exclusion and inclusion of any sort – for example, social, political, sexual – in and through art. In other words, what sorts of arts and cultural artefacts obtain high versus low standing, and what are the connections between these highs and lows and society?
Luis Felipe Ferra
Theme 2: Voice and Silence
This theme explores how individuals and social groups can assert voice through artistic creations or in society. What does it mean to have a voice? How do we come to characterize the voice of a group or community? The individual’s and group’s agency, or the capacity to act despite obstacles, may be a key consideration for how creative artistic expressions may be created. Does the same hold for voice for social and political movements? Under what conditions do individuals remain silent or are silenced? What does silence mean in art?
Dorothy Miell and J. P. Singh
Theme 3: Witness
This theme explores the artists or individuals as witnesses. What does it mean to be a witness to and how is that different from being an observer? Additional questions include what the artist’s or individual’s ethical responsibility is in situations of oppression, cruelty and hypocrisy? Must an individual or an artist even have one?
Caitlin Nasema Cassidy
Theme 4: Empathy
Empathy describes the ability to relate to another individual’s point of view and understand his or her emotional response. Artists often express the human condition in terms that the audience will recognize. Empathy allows the artist to execute this task. How do the arts humanize or dehumanize? In general, how do we empathize and represent the individual and human condition?
Cynthia P. Schneider
Shubham Roy Choudhury
Theme 5: Anger and Anxiety
How do societal anger and anxiety influence cultural activity on local, national and transnational scales? This theme also examines how artists create meaning from anger and anxiety in society at large.
Faisal Abu Alhayjaa
Theme 6: Culture Wars
This theme reflects on cultural politics and economics. Cultural wars involve clashes of collective identities across divides that ca be societal, national, or transnational. For artists and cultural producers, political institutions and economics impact the ways and degrees to which the arts receive public support and approval. Culture Wars can reflect how art is created in the context of these political debates.
Manuel Francisco Viveros
Theme 7: Global Values
Global Values speak to our current moment in an ever-globalizing world. Cosmopolitan understandings of human relations are in conflict with reactionary nationalist rhetoric and preferences. As a result, there is debate over how cultures are understood and how groups identify themselves.
J. P. Singh
Nik Shahrifulnizam Bin Che Rahim
Gideon J. Wabvuta