As coined by Brandon WilliamsCraig, the term "Process Arts" refers to the field of group process design and facilitation. This field studies and practices interaction by paying at least as much attention to how choices are made as to the products and systems which result. Process Arts:
- apply the specific capacities practiced and deepened by the humanities, that is to say aesthetic sense, emotion, thought, and communication in many forms,
- to be able to recognize the 'archetypal' patterns present in all groups,
- to create Process potentially able to interpret and respond to both predictable and unpredictable results
- in order to facilitate the co-creativity of groups,
- thereby forming cultural complexes which adopt and ritualize collective narratives
- for conscious and unconscious maintenance and distribution of systemic power.
The Process Arts, as such, have been deployed since the late nineteenth century in the creation of particular kinds of culture, particularly mechano-industrial, which are now reducing the chances of survival of life on this planet. As a result the Process Arts today have the opportunity and obligation to come into their own by identifying with each other as a loosely affiliated field of study and finding consensus around a co-created ethics, evoked through exploration of the psychologies each one presupposes, practices, and promulgates. As progeny of a psychological imagination that is at least partly industrialized, process arts are continually in danger of recapitulating contemporary systemic injustice and dehumanization born of domination by the industrial imagination.
The idea and phrase "process arts" was coined and released for widespread use by Brandon WilliamsCraig through a "copyleft" license that requires adherence only to a global definition and the requirement of attribution. This is an attempt to tell the dynamic story of the process arts within the myth of property, in this case intellectual, but in a way that complicates that system, joining the large existing movement to clear space again for a "commons" (Levin 1999 p196) where 'ownership' is a gift of the community, remains flexible, and remains a shared concern.
The phrase "process arts" may not be used to refer to a single or proprietary method, as it refers only to the field of approaches to group process facilitation which effect change through shared attention devoted to systemic, methodical, and relational choices. This is intended to make space for deepening practice of the discipline most often known by generic monikers, like "management" and "facilitation." The Process Arts idea is an invitation to re-frame the spectrum of these facilitative disciplines so that practitioners may identify as colleagues and co-create a disciplinary ethics, taking their place in parallel with the liberal arts as a field of study and practice, and a prerequisite for citizenship and participation in governance, commerce, community, and lifelong education.
"Process Arts" implies advertising, psychotherapy, business consulting, management, teacher training, organizational development, and social activism, in short the entire field of co-creative, facilitative disciplines emerging from and changing under the influence of psychological thinking. While this is all that is required to frame the field, the implied consensus can provide a foundation supporting the maturation of the process arts into "peace practices" which encourage power-sharing, dialogue, and deliberation. This is an invitation, asking practitioners to participate as colleagues in an emerging field and drop into soulful depths, through an inclusive concept of conflict, to build cultures in which the daily reality is the learning and practicing of peace.
For Brandon WilliamsCraig's blogging on the subject, including mention of the process arts in Blessed Unrest, by Bill Hawken, and in the Change Handbook, please visit http://culturesmith.com/process_arts
For John Abbe's writing please visit http://ourpla.net/cgi/pikie?ProcessArts
Please also see http://grouppatternlanguage.org/wagn/Brandon_WilliamsCraig