Art & Photography Books:

Make Arts for a Better Life

A Guide for Working with Communities



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Make Arts for a Better Life by Kathleen Van Buren

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Make Arts for a Better Life: A Guide for Working with Communities provides a ground-breaking model for arts advocacy. Drawing upon methods and theories from disciplines such as ethnomusicology, anthropology, folklore, community development, and communication studies, the Guide presents an in-depth approach to researching artistic practices within communities and to developing arts-based projects that address locally-defined needs. Through clear methodology, case studies from around the world, and sample activities, the Guide helps move readers from arts research to project development to project evaluation. Woven into the discussions are critical reflections on the concept of a "better life" and ethical issues in arts advocacy. Accessible writing and visual cues ensure that readers can easily locate sections which may be particularly pertinent to their work, whether based on types of arts (music, drama, dance, oral verbal arts, visual arts) or professional positions (educators, scholars, project leaders). For additional resources, readers can access an accompanying website offering methodology "cheat sheets," sample research documents, and suggestions for educators, scholars, and project leaders.

Author Biography

Brian Schrag is SIL International's Ethnomusicology and Arts Coordinator, and founder of the Center for Excellence in World Arts (Dallas), a graduate program in applied ethnoarts. He has engaged in sustained arts research and development in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon, and holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology (UCLA), an M.A. in Intercultural Studies (Wheaton, IL), and a B.S. in Cognitive Sciences (Brown University). Brian actively promotes artistic creativity for healing and education in communities affected by Huntington's Disease. Kathleen J. Van Buren is an ethnomusicologist with special interests in medical and applied ethnomusicology, arts and social change, and musics of Africa. She is currently Honorary Research Fellow for the Department of Music at the University of Sheffield, where she previously worked as lecturer for ten years (2006-2016). She holds an MA and PhD from the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in English and self-designed BM in ethnomusicology from Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Release date NZ
October 31st, 2018
Country of Publication
United States
37 line, 10 halftone
Oxford University Press Inc
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