Using the Arts

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.4 Winter 2004)

In seeking to free ourselves from the biases of a print-oriented culture, we need to consider, not only the kinds of media and discourse genre (e.g. narrative) that are most appropriate for oral cultures, but also the most effective ways to use those genres and media. What do non-readers like to see and hear? What do they enjoy listening to? Their choices will not necessarily be the same as those of print communicators. If the styles of presentation are ones which oral communicators prefer, then they will be more likely to listen, to understand, and to remember what they hear.

In this paper, Rick Brown argues that oral cultures have their own preferences for ways to communicate truth, and that these are often different from what print-oriented people prefer. In order to share the message most effectively, we need to find out what media and methods work best for them. In most cases this will include a multi-media approach with an emphasis on memorizing the Scriptures with the aid of high-quality recordings from skilled actors or voicers.  [more...]

Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
Sponsor: Dept. of Worship & Music Studies, Liberty University

Liberty University Online’s Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology challenges the notion that music is a universal language. It teaches that music systems vary from culture to culture just like languages. Gaining a basic understanding of a culture’s music can be vital to gaining access to its people.

The M.A. in Ethnomusicology through Liberty Online offers an innovative education in world music for students seeking careers in cross-cultural environments. Each course provides students with knowledge of the basic principles of ethnomusicology and the role of an ethnomusicologist.  [more...]

GIAL, Dallas, Texas, USA
Sponsor: Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics

The MA with a major in World Arts prepares students to work cross-culturally alongside singers, musicians, actors, dancers, storytellers, and visual artists, researching the arts of their community. Using these insights, the student will be able to spark artistic creations with artists to respond to their community’s needs in community development, health education, justice issues, language and arts preservation, literacy, Scripture engagement and translation, worship expressions, and other areas.

Courses include:

  • Research Methods for World Arts
  • Arts for a Better Future
  • Applied Arts
  • Expressive Form Analysis
  • Directed Practicum in World Arts
  [more...]
Author: Betty Green

"We make posters, bookmarks - laminated and non-laminated, bookmark kits for groups to make their own bookmarks, refrigerator magnets, note pads, stickers..."

The Inakeanon People of the Philippines are seeing God’s Word in colorful attractive posters, bookmarks, key chains, greeting cards and more. The Inakeanon Scripture Promotion team has produced over 1,250 Scripture posters as well as hundreds of the other Scripture items. These were hand made, scrapbook style from used greeting cards, stickers and punched-out shapes sent from interested prayer partners.

This article contains samples of the posters that have been produced as well as links to images of many more.  [more...]

Author: Mary E Saurman

"Learning takes place when the activity is (1) receptor-oriented, (2) context-oriented, (3) repetitive, and (4) participatory… Indigenous music embraces all four of these learning components. Not only are the words in the people’s spoken language, but the music is also in their traditional music system."

Research shows that music is an effective tool for memorisation. Mary Saurman describes what is needed for effective instruction and shows how music meets many of these requirements: it is receptor-orientated, uses repetition, is participatory, and has intrinsic motivation because it is a part of people’s culture. She offers examples of how music has enhanced literacy programs across the world. Finally she outlines several steps to incorporating music into a literacy program: consider music’s function in the community; ask questions of when it’s used; what it’s used for and who uses it; then consider which song categories and styles are appropriate for literacy; and finally begin to use it!  [more...]

Promoting Scripture use in difficult environments
Author: Mary Beavon

“The illustrations captured the imagination of the children.”

Mary Beavon describes a Scripture Use activity their team used in an area of Cameroon where churches are small, travel is difficult, and people have little money. They developed Scripture Big Books (from Shell Books), which served to both teach the Bible and promote literacy. They were used in churches and open air. Though it is not a sustainable activity, it provides useful manuscripts and exposes people to written forms of the Bible.  [more...]

The Most Common Avenue to Increased Scripture Engagement
Author: T. Wayne Dye
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (26.3 Fall 2009)

The choice of medium can make a difference, and better artistic quality enhances any communication. However, the most important quality is how relevant the message seems to be to the lives of its hearers. If a hearer (or reader or viewer) thinks the message can make an important difference in his life, he will make an effort to listen, even if the quality is poor. Conversely, if he thinks it says nothing personally relevant, he will ignore even the best presented message. This principle of personal relevance is critical to communication.

Wayne Dye expands upon his third condition for Scripture Engagement:

Accessible forms: People are able to read the Scriptures or hear them from others or by listening to electronic media.

The article describes different ways of making the Scriptures more accessible: storying, literacy, local performing and visual arts, audio recordings, cell phones and video.  [more...]

Author: John D Wilson
Published by: PapuaWeb

"The occasion in Yali culture which became the natural opportunity for initial and continued transmission of Scripture — basically in the form of Bible stories — was in the evening hours which traditionally were given to nunung and dindil ale story telling. Here was a time when the community was used to gathering, and ready and eager to hear a new story."

This paper highlights some of the assumptions about Scripture that can limit or hinder its communication in an oral culture. The author examines orality (as opposed to non-literacy) with a view to demonstrating the capacity and capability of oral media (stories and songs) for the effective transmission of Scripture.  [more...]