LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 14, 2013) ― "Sustaining Living Culture" is a new book compiled and edited by Frieda Holland Gebert, institutional staff officer in the University of Kentucky Office of the Provost and Kevin Gibson, associate dean of the Graduate School at Marquette University and chair of the philosophy department there.
Part of the “On Sustainability” series from Common Ground Publishing, the book is a collection of essays by experts in environmental, cultural, and social sustainability from around the world. Gebert says "Sustaining Living Culture" is organized on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's categories of cultural practice:
• Oral traditions and expressions including language
• Performing arts
• Social Practices, rituals, and festive events
• Knowledge and practices regarding nature and the universe
• Traditional craftsmanship
Part of the book's introduction reads, “The central question addressed in this volume is how to sustain cultural practices that are still active today but are, nevertheless, vulnerable. This era of global communication is a time, ironically, when many unique cultures are threatened; practitioners of rare arts are aging, young people are being integrated into larger communities, languages are disappearing, and cultural memories are being lost. The collection is presented in the spirit of the topic; these papers embody dynamic contemporary efforts to sustain ongoing, and therefore, ever-changing cultural practices, not merely closed histories of past events. The lessons learned in these pages can be used in current practice and passed on to future generations. We hope that, together, we can all discover and share ways to nourish living cultures.”
"This book came about as a result of a conference I attended in 2011, the 7th Annual International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability in New Zealand," Gebert said. "I submitted a paper and gave a presentation on the importance of the arts in cultural heritage. Dr. Kevin Gibson, who heard the presentation, approached me afterward and proposed the idea of a book on the subject of sustaining or nourishing cultures as they evolve and exist today. Most literature in this area deals with preserving culture, and we wanted to explore the idea of culture as dynamic and ever-changing."
Gebert and Gibson asked other presenters to work with them to submit articles on “living” culture, as seen through the lens of their own discipline. A combination of Gebert's and Gibson's material as well as essays from the other experts make up the book.
Gebert's background is in the arts. She has served on the music faculties of Indiana State University, Sam Houston State University and Campbellsville University. She has been active as a recitalist, stage performer, conductor, director and teacher throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. Gebert has been a long-time proponent of arts education, receiving numerous grants and developing innovative arts education programs. She also teaches for the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, incorporating the arts in interdisciplinary education for gifted students.
"Sustaining Living Culture" is available in the UK Bookstore and can be ordered through the publisher at http://onsustainability.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.197/prod.7 or through Amazon. It will also be available on Kindle.
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