Ben Cameron is the Program Director of the Dorris Duke Charitable Foundation and supervises grant programs for the performing arts. In his recent TED Talk Cameron discussed the role that technology has played in how we consume performing arts today and also who participates in them. He sees a paradigm shift that blurs the line between professionals and amateurs, with less of a separation between performers and audience.
Frankly, what we’re seeing now in this environment is a massive time, when the entire world is changing as we move from a time when audience numbers are plummeting. But the number of arts participants, people who write poetry, who sing songs, who perform in church choirs, is exploding beyond our wildest imaginations. This group, others have called the “pro ams,” amateur artists doing work at a professional level. You see them on YouTube, in dance competitions, film festivals and more. They are radically expanding our notions of the potential of an aesthetic vocabulary,while they are challenging and undermining the cultural autonomy of our traditional institutions. Ultimately, we now live in a world defined not by consumption, but by participation.
Here’s the video.