Push Me, Pull You: Questions of Co-authorship

During the summer of 2012, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage investigated various issues surrounding (co-)authorship in cultural production, in a series of articles called Push Me, Pull You. This project asked questions around definitions of authorship, collaboration within and across disciplines, audience participation, overlaps between curation and artistic production, and the influence of marketplace and other arbiters of control, among other concepts. As part of the Center’s interest in investigating issues of cultural practice—particularly those that manifest themselves across disciplines—we initiated and propelled conversation around this topic to ascertain emerging challenges and opportunities for practitioners and organizations, and to discuss how we can learn from these commonalities as we look to the future of arts and culture.

Throughout the run of Push Me, Pull You, we asked thought leaders and cultural practitioners from across the country to share their thoughts about the ever-evolving subject of (co-)authorship in cultural production. The contributors tackled questions related to definitions of authorship, collaboration within and across disciplines, audience participation, overlaps between curation and artistic production, and the influence of marketplace and other arbiters of control, among other concepts. Below is the full list of interviews, all of which were published originally on the Center website:

Kenneth Goldsmith
Visual artist-turned-writer, founding editor of UbuWeb, senior editor of PennSound, professor at the University of Pennsylvania
“Faced with an unprecedented amount of available digital text, our problem is not that we need to write more of it; instead, we must learn to negotiate the vast quantity that exists.”
Read more >

Michael Rohd
Founding Artistic Director, Sojourn Theatre
“Though there is power in the expression of singular voices and visions, I find the world far too complex to wrestle with and articulate the matters I want to explore without the collision of other brains, hearts, and experiences.”
Read more >

Roxane Gay
Writer and essayist, co-editor of PANK, essays editor for The Rumpus, HTMLGIANT contributor
“The cult of the writer is such that we very much want to know works of literary merit can be traced to a single source. We want to believe in the idea of literary genius as singular.”
Read more >

Cassie Chinn
Executive Director, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
“It will take time to get to know one another, energy to come to consensus, and effort to make room for all to have shared ownership, but in the end, it’s worth it. Together, we are stronger.”
Read more >

Krithika Rajagopalan
Associate Artistic Director and principal dancer, Natya Dance Theatre
“The same dance, with the same music today can be a completely different choreography tomorrow, as movement becomes very improvisational and has its own free spirit.”
Read more >

Jerry Yoshitomi
Chief Knowledge Officer, MeaningMatters, LLC
“It’s not about arts organizations co-authoring relationships; it’s about providing the opportunity for participants to co-author meaning through the art they create.”
Read more >

Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder
Choreographic collaborators, HIJACK
“Our dances embrace juxtaposition. Believing work left in dialogue form opens itself to dialogue with the audience, we present two individuals’ points-of-view, yet unreconciled.”
Read more >

Dorothy Noyes
Director, Center for Folklore Studies at Ohio State University
“The challenges of social coexistence not only shape folklore genres as form, but furnish much of their subject matter.”
Read more >

Nate Wooley
Jazz trumpeter, composer, editor of Sound American, manager of DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music)
“Due to the improvisatory nature of [jazz], co-authorship seems more natural as the performer is given latitude by jazz’s history and philosophy to make drastic performative choices with the given material.”
Read more >

MiJin Hong
Director of Academic Affairs and Program Development, Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University
“Museum leaders need to ‘create’ their opportunities; they need to be open to seeing and sensing their world differently in order to receive and feel anew—and reinvent.”
Read more >

Ain Gordon
Obie Award-winning writer, director, and actor; 2011–13 Visiting Artist at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
“I don’t wish to assert co-authorship everywhere, only to audibly/visually annotate the vast physical and ideological ‘population’ inside the many forms of mono-authorship.”
Read more >

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) today announced 53 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. The 2016 awards total more than $10 million and provide funding for 12 new Pew Fellowships, 36 Project grants, and 5 Advancement grants.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is pleased to announce its 2015 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Amanda Dargan is the education program director at City Lore, where she manages national outreach education programs and New York City arts, science, and history programs.

The Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum held a residency with bassoonist Pascal Gallois, featuring a series of master classes and performances.

The Village of Arts and Humanities supports the voices and aspirations of the community and inspires people to be agents of positive change through programs that encompass arts and culture, engage youth, revitalize community, preserve heritage, and respect the environment.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Peter Manuel is an ethnomusicologist and professor of music at John Jay College and CUNY Graduate Center.

Visual artist and Pew Fellow Benjamin Volta on his belief that art can be a catalyst for social change, the importance of fostering sustaining creative experiences, and more.

Grants & Grantees

Choral Arts Philadelphia presented two concerts exploring liturgical practice with a focus on mystical traditions—sacred and secular, ancient and contemporary.

A number of Center grantee and colleagues presented at the 2015 Creative Time Summit.

Grants & Grantees

The Community Education Center has grown into an arts organization with a focus on cultivating a support system for artists, supported through residency and service programs.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Since retiring in 1995 from a dance career with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Boston Ballet, and Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal, Michael Reed has worked with Arizona State University.

Grants & Grantees

Max Apple (Pew Fellow, 2010) has been described as a “writer’s writer,” a dedicated author of short fiction who writes with precision and control.