The role of love in intercultural arts theory and practice
This chapter explores how concepts of love, in particular compassionate love, can provide a way of theorizing and embodying intercultural arts practices. By focusing on love in this context, we bring to the fore the importance of intimacy, interaction, trust, honesty, openness, caring, courage, fairness, faithfulness, gratitude, respect, dialogue and ethical responsibility in our intercultural artistic practices. For love demands that we show: “a willingness toward dialogue, a willingness toward responsibility, a choice for encounter and response, a turning toward rather than turning away” (Bird Rose, 2011, p. 5). As Bird Rose’s words suggest, this means that love is first and foremost a verb, a participatory emotion, and a social practice that can both inform and underpin intercultural arts practice (hooks, 2000). Moreover, this calls us to consider how we can love across difference as intercultural artists, not by reducing identity to notions of sameness, but by the recognition of irreducible differences between us (Irigaray, 2002). In other words, by focusing on love, we are challenged to consider ways of engaging in intercultural practices and dialogue that seek “relationships across otherness without seeking to erase difference” (Bird Rose, 2004, as cited in Barney, 2014, p. 2). Herein lies the potential of love as a powerful concept in intercultural arts theory and practice. In this chapter I explore these ideas in relation to theoretical perspectives on love from bell hooks (2000), Paulo Freire (1970), Luce Irigaray (2002) and Judson Laughter (2014), as well as my own experience working in intercultural arts settings with Warumungu and Warlpiri musicians in Central Australia, to consider how the concept of love can provide a useful framework within intercultural arts theory and practice on the ground.
The Routledge International Handbook of Intercultural Arts Research
Art Theory and Criticism not elsewhere classified