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Palgrave Macmillan

Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era

ISBN 9781137023919
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The ruling idea of Arts Talk is a simple one: audience pleasure is deeply tied up with the opportunity to interpret the meaning and value of the arts, and this pleasure is enhanced significantly when interpretation is made social. Conner analyzes the robust arts audiences of the past along side contemporary participatory cultures to model a new paradigm for arts appreciation centered on audience-powered conversations, both live and digital. Topics discussed include learning and cognition in arts reception and the form and function of productive talk in the digital era. This book is a valuable resource for arts workers and audiences wishing to explore the environmental, social and psychological conditions that allow us to engage meaningfully with the arts.

Lynne Conner is Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department at Colby College, USA. She is a theatre and dance historian, cultural policy expert, and award-winning playwright and director. Her publications include the books Pittsburgh in Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater; Spreading the Gospel of the Modern Dance: Newspaper Dance Criticism in the United States, 1850-1935; and In the Garden of Live Flowers (co-authored with Attilio Favorini). Her plays and adaptations have been produced in venues across the country, including theatres in Houston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and more. Her play In the Garden of Live Flowers won the 2002 David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival and an honorable mention prize in the 2002 Jane Chambers Playwriting Award contest.

Preamble: We the Audience
1. Roadmap to Pleasure
2. Eras of Social Interpretation
3. Geographies of Social Interpretation
4. Audience Learning Communities
5. Fundamentals of Productive Talk
6. Arts Talk
Conclusion: The Pleasures of Interpretation in the Live | Digital Era


"Conner is unique in leaning on present-day tenets of cognitive science as a tool for enhancing understanding of pleasure. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate Students, researchers, professionals." - CHOICE
"Lynne Conner offers a deep dive into an essential question for anyone who creates, curates, manages, or supports the arts: What makes arts experiences meaningful? Through wide-ranging scholarship and practical connections, this book is an art-lover's field guide to clearer thinking, richer listening, and more resilient practice." - Andrew Taylor, Assistant Professor of Arts Management, American University, USA, author of The Artful Manager
"What if the past 75 years were a mass culture bubble from which we're only now emerging? Perhaps the digital revolution, as empowering and startlingly new as it is, is most powerful when it helps us return to and build on long-held enduring values. Lynne Conner's historically-steeped perspective on how communities have traditionally interacted around culture is an insightful and particularly useful take on constructing a framework for sharing culture in the digital age." - Douglas McLennan, Editor and Founder of ArtsJournal.com
"Lynne Conner's Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era is a path-breaking book about cultural consumption and engagement. What do works of art and culture actually mean to their audiences, and, more importantly, what is the process by which these meanings are created, extended, and deepened? Conner's analysis reveals the deeply social nature of engagement with art. When we have to express our ideas, respond, and deliberate with others, our connection with art becomes more meaningful, and, Conner argues, more pleasurable." - Steven Jay Tepper, Associate Professor of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, USA, and Associate Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy
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