Hamish Fyfe: ‘I remember being in a classroom in Northern Ireland where the children were drawing. I noticed one little girl of about seven and asked her what she was drawing. “I’m doing a drawing of God” she said. I said I thought that was interesting since a lot of people didn’t really know what God looked like. “Oh”, she said, “that’s alright, they will in a minute”.’
That’s a story Prof. Fyfe told at University of Glamorgan last night as he set out his vision for society where there are exciting new spaces set out for the arts. He show digital stories and compared today’s You Tube age with the moment when Eastman invented the one dollar box Brownie Camera and vernacular photography was invented. He warned that changes need to be made in the way arts are integrated into society. Here’s a summary of my understanding of his manifesto for new social and creative literacies:
We need to find better ways to communicate with each other and to engage with artists and a range of forms. The creative needs of those who work in the socially engaged arts need to be met and there needs to be space for children and young people to more freely explore creativity for themselves, instead of those opportunities always being so highly structured. People who care about this need to speak out as advocates for the arts as a cultural right for everyone and there needs to be a climate in which people can interact both locally and internationally, take risks and experience creative transformations for themselves. (A summary of key points by Hamish Fyfe in his ‘Cycles of Affirmation – Art and Community in the New Century lecture. Look out for the full text of his lecture which, based on past experience, will probably be posted here.)
I don’t know about you, but that I think that sounds like an improvement on the society in which we currently live and, unlike many utopian visions, this one sounds deliverable.