A Simple Request
Since the launch of its call for chapter proposals on June 15, 2009, the 20UNDER40 anthology has been a source of much needed discussion throughout the arts sector. The 20UNDER40 project exists, as it always has, to promote the thoughts and ideas of young arts and arts education professionals—a voice within the arts sector that is often pushed to the margins of our greater cultural dialogue.
In the past year and a half the 20UNDER40 project has been the focus of debates that have at times sparked strong emotions from individuals throughout the field. Unfortunately, these discussions have sometimes turned hostile—as older arts leaders have cried “ageism!” and tossed unsavory epithets at the project’s purpose, and younger arts leaders have responded in an equally unflattering manner.
While inspiring much needed discussion throughout the field, the 20UNDER40 project was never meant to be divisive, nor to be a platform for name-calling amongst colleagues who should be working towards a greater common purpose.
While negative reactions against the project have long since cooled, there has been a recent up-tick in derogatory language used on the various social media platforms where 20UNDER40 has a presence.
As editor and project director of 20UNDER40 I invite criticism of the project, as I always have. But I also request that all such criticism be thoughtful, respectful, and without hostility or venomous intent. 20UNDER40 may be a controversial concept to some—and I welcome those individuals to critique the project intelligently. Harsh language does nothing to advance the debate—and an abusive tone only alienates would-be participants to a conversation from joining in the discussion.
You may use this space, the 20UNDER40 Twitter feed, the 20UNDER40 Facebook Group Page, and the 20UNDER40 website itself to criticize the project, but harsh language with an intentionally insulting tone will no longer be tolerated.
Up to this point I have chosen not to delete any inappropriate language nor block online users from participating in discussions. However, for the sake of productive discourse, going forward I will take steps to exclude negative influences and inappropriate dialogue from all 20UNDER40 platforms.
I have faith in the field that the common decency shared by all of us who work in the arts will not necessitate any such action.
Thank you all for your cooperation.