Transformative Language Arts (TLA) is the study and pursuit of social and personal transformation, exploration, celebration and liberation through the spoken, written and sung word. TLA is an emerging interdisciplinary field of study that draws upon literature, creative writing, psychology, social change traditions, mythology, the oral tradition, storytelling, drama, sociology, gender studies, and other areas. TLA is also an emerging profession as being developed by people in the field, including the professional organization, the TLA Network, which values cooperation, community building, empowerment, sustainability, and generosity of spirit. These values are directly related to TLA, as explained by Dr. James Sparrell: "An underlying value implicit in the ethical code for TLA is that TLA is reflected in a practice of connection and community"
Founded in 2000 at Goddard College as a concentration in the Individualized MA program, TLA initially was conceptualized as "writing therapy," according to Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, its chief founder "TLA History and Background" TLA Addendum. Plainfield, VT.: Goddard College, 2005. Mirriam-Goldberg soon realized, with input from prospective students, faculty and staff, plus people in the fields of Poetry Therapy, Drama Therapy, and Social Change Theater, that what was needed was, "bigger than writing and bigger than therapy". Noting that there were ample therapeutic tools already developed, and yet little that linked therapy with social change, and that there wasn't enough "cross-pollination" of people in various writing, storytelling and performance genres, Mirriam-Goldberg helped conceptualize TLA as encompassing community building, health, personal development, and other benefits through all the language arts.
TLA is seen today as discipline that links academic disciplines and genres. As Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Native American storyteller and writer, says in a 2007 interview: "TLA work helps to do these things because TLA is a great bridge, and more than a bridge. It's sort of something that can decompose borders that are placed upon us for a variety of reasons".
Transformative Language Arts make livings through facilitating writing, storytelling, performance and other language arts workshops; consulting with organizations, businesses and institutions; performing in many venues, such as Bread and Puppet Theatre and Theatre for the Oppressed; and coaching individuals and communities. Life coach, CEO of a company specializing in diversity training and writer Yvette Hyater-Adams speaks about TLA in business and life coaching: "I believe the key to using TLA in the coaching process lies in opening up avenues of creativity, self-expression, and self-awareness as part of the coaching process and as a valuable tool for behavioral change, organizing and palnning, and manifesting and achieving goals.
at Goddard. Can't say I've heard of it as an idea with a name before, but it certainly seems keen!
PS: I would've just linked to something instead of doing this odd LJ-Cut-as-Hypertext thing, but the Wiki entry that I've quoted here apparently has been deleted. Thank you Google Cache.