Frequently (and Infrequently) Asked Questions             send other questions to arts@sil.org

What do all of these terms mean: Ethnomusicology, Arts, Ethnoarts, EthnoArts, etcetera?

Ethnomusicology: academic discipline that combines musicology and anthropology, focused on understanding music in culture, formalized in 1956 or so. Dr. Vida Chenoweth was SIL's first ethnomusicologist.

Ethnomusicology and Arts: the official name of SIL's ethnoarts community. "Ethnomusicology" provides academic credibility for people not yet familiar with our scholarly innovations. We changed from the Ethnomusicology department to Ethnomusicology and Arts around 2007.

EthnoArts: a proto-academic discipline (i.e. we're making it up) extending ethnomusicology's purview to include all artistry in any community. Ethnoarts has historical and theological currents that encourage engagement with minority—particularly ethnolinguistic—communities. Ethnoarts also focuses on emic categories of arts making (artistic genres of communication), and integrates applications of research organically to meeting social, physical, and spiritual needs. Sometimes spelled ethnoarts.

Ethnodoxology: young discipline with an active community of practice (Global Ethnodoxology Network), foundational publications (Ethnodoxology Handbook and Manual), and peer-reviewed journal (Ethnodoxology: A Global Forum on Arts and Christian Faith). It is defined by GEN as "the theological and anthropological study, and practical application, of how every culture group might use its unique and diverse artistic expressions appropriately to worship the God of the Bible." 

World Arts: a general reference to artistic expressions from any place on the globe, adopted by the Center for Excellence in World Arts.

Arts: in a perfect world, all arts would just be 'arts,' putting ethnolinguistically-grounded arts on the same value level as Western arts. So sometimes we use 'arts' as a shorthand for whatever the artistry we're involved with. SIL's ethnoarts personnel roles are Arts Worker, Arts Specialist, and Arts Consultant.

How can we invite an ethnoarts person to our entity when we don’t already have an ethnoarts person to mentor them? 

International and Area ethnoarts staff provide technical, ethnoarts focused supervision of new arts personnel, usually from a distance. For more, see this link.

Can someone in SIL encouraging other people to create still do their own arts? 

Yes. Many SIL ethnoarts people are artists and find outlets to express themselves in ways that don't detract from their primary goal: helping others create in their own forms. Weekend flute playing in jazz clubs, fiddling in a Nairobi orchestra, painting for family occasions, attending professional Shakespeare festivals.... We want happy, healthy artists everywhere. 

Can you tell me more about the history of ethnomusicology and ethnoarts in SIL? 

Yes, but we don't have a nicely written text yet.

How does an ethnoarts approach to language programs connect to a Communication-First approach?

Communication-first looks for the communication genres in a community. An ethnoarts approach focuses on artistically marked communication genres in a community. So ethnoarts works with a sub-set of all of the communication genres.

Please compare training requirements to become an SIL Arts Specialist with requirements to earn an M.A. at CEWA. They're different, aren't they?

Yes, they are different. The M.A. requires more classes and time: www.diu.edu/arts. You don't have to have an M.A. to be an Arts Specialist (but you can):http://www.sil.org/training/arts-and-ethnomusicology

Is there a document that Arts personnel can use to explain themselves to more people?

Yes - it's called "I am an Arts Specialist."