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Conference explores connection between arts and culture

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Sharon Bailin, 604.291.5828,
Carol Thorbes, Media & PR, 604.291.3035,

June 23, 2004

A first-of-its-kind conference at Simon Fraser University will examine the dynamics between culture and the arts, including fine and performing art, the humanities and literature. "In today’s increasingly multicultural societies, one of the results of cultural interaction is artistic fusion. That can be exciting and productive," notes Sharon Bailin, a SFU professor of drama education and the conference organizer.

Bailin says educators’ growing interest in how culture and the arts interact motivated her to organize the Arts, Culture and Education Institute. The event is from July 12 to 23 at SFU’s Burnaby campus. "The institute [conference] will look at how culture shapes artistic expression and how the arts interact with and affect culture. We’ll also look at how focusing on culture might impact arts education," explains Bailin, who researches creativity across cultures.

The following are some of the speakers featured at the conference:
Richard Anderson is a professor of cultural anthropology and comparative aesthetics at Kansas City Art Institute. He will demonstrate the power of art to affect the world we live in, using examples of Western and non-Western art.

Sharon Bailin will examine how creativity is understood in a variety of cultures and how these conceptions are related to particular philosophical beliefs.

Max Wyman, writer, critic and commentator on the arts, will argue that we treat the arts as a frill at our peril. The author of the book Why Culture Matters? will discuss how the arts cultivate harmonious co-existence between different cultures.

Live performances representing Canada’s cultural diversity, hands-on workshops, art exhibits, and field trips to community arts projects, are among many conference events. See for program details or contact Loreen Lawrence, for more information.

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