Creativity beyond the state: moving peoples and moving creative practices under state influence

Stephanie Bunn (University of St Andrews)
Ligertwood 111
Start time:
12 December, 2017 at 13:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Moving communities may strengthen their creative practices under the influence of the state. More often their art is hybridised, appropriated or stopped. This panel explores how the dynamic nature of traditional creative practices reveals the balance between art and the state among moving people.

Long abstract:

How does the state impact upon the creative practices of mobile communities, whether nomadic herders, hunter gatherers, migrant workers or refugees? The songs of Bangla Desh move with migrants as they travel between home and Europe, yet other forms of music from the Indian subcontinent hybridise in Europe to create new forms such as Bangra. Traditional Kazakh motifs are employed in new fashion collections emphasising national style, while the skills which formed these patterns may be forgotten. Aid workers from foreign states may teach new skills and techniques which may bring advances to old practices, or may damage them. Contributors to this panel are invited to explore the changes in localised skills and creative practices that occur when moving groups with strong traditional forms come into contact with state influences, oppressive or not. Industrialisation may remove the need for 'traditional' practices such as hand-weaving in Pakistan. Changes of land use in Malaysia through rain forest degradation may affect the use of rattan in basketry. State influence may impact in many ways, and can affect both skills and imagery. Long-held abstract Turkmen carpet motifs may be transformed into more literal machine guns or heads of state leaders. The panel asks: How can the dynamic nature of localised creative practices help reveal the balance between art and the state among moving people?