April 3rd, 2012 // 4:55 pm @ cloud
Who is the Cultural Worker?
Michel Foucault’s conception establishes an intellectual who reaches into the family, the hospital, the university, the church at the precise (hence specific) juncture where his or her conditions of work or life situate them (Foucault 1984b), hence the term specific. Foucault examines the relational complexities surrounding the discursive ways in which and the institutional means through which “regimes of truth…that is, the types of discourse [a society] accepts and makes function as true” (Foucault, 1984b, p. 73) are constituted over time and space.
As such, three related roles of the cultural worker are central to this project and thus in large measure shed light on the relevance of cultural work: 1) The cultural worker’s intentional conveyance of the history, literature, and language of a culture, setting or movement ; 2) Owing in part to the assertion of this conscious intention, the cultural worker’s potential to facilitate individual and collective understanding (and sometimes transformation) through empathy, shock, and action; and 3) The action is facilitated through a cultural worker’s use of connection, form, appropriation, and collective memory.
This project is at once an effort to specify and define as well as demonstrate the concept of the cultural worker. Using multiple creative avenues (audio-visual, music, story, verse, spoken word) public programs called “Walk into Your Season” were created to reflect cultural work through some of the collective and individual experiences manifested and exacerbated by historical inequities, power differentials, narrow thinking, faulty logic and cultural unawareness. Cultural workers recognize, consider, and explore the significant interplay between autoethnograhpy, culture, and reflection; hence cultural workers serve as creative catalysts in empowerment.