Recent experiences with the Australian and Victorian government's concerning the undervaluing of the creative arts in child, adolescent and adult education systems has lead me to initiate Mercurius Press as an activist/advocacy oriented venture.
The notion that creativity in all its traditonal and contemporary forms is merely a 'hobby', and thus only marginally relevant to the wellbeing of a culture and to individuals in a culture is to my mind a dangerous and disempowering perspective. As a way of thinking it represents a direct development of particular forms of reductionist thinking arising out of only very recent (historically speaking) social and cultural developments in Western nations.
The key historic developments that have lead to the marginalisation of creativity as a way of being in the world can be summarised as follows: a) the advent of hyper-capitalism' i.e. economic rationalism/neo-liberal economics etc. in many nations that leads to the notion that the prime role (and thus 'value') of creativity is to produce saleable products; b) the advent of a simplistic faith in science and reason as the key methods for understanding human 'being' in the world - leading to an undermining of symbolic/metaphoric i.e. creative ways of understanding human 'being'; c) Mass media developments that privilege simplistic, stereotypical ways of engaging with culture through 'media' over more complex, nuanced alternative modes of participation in cultural life that enrich mental and emotional life.
At the Gem99 publishing assistance site (go to: Mercurius Press (Australia) you can peruse a small (at this stage) catalogue of digital publications downloads (some free some with a fee) representing a response to the dehumanisation the above trends lead to in general social life and within the mental and emotional life of individuals.
The site will eventually publish Essays, Non-Fiction books, Poetry collections, Fiction books/collections, anthologies etc. AND MP3etc. recordings of lecturers/public talks and musical pieces.
Non-fiction texts and lecture Mp3s published by Mercurius will generally be concerend with the themes listed below:
1) the role of creativity and the imagination in contemporary society.
2) studies concerning the ways in which the new Digital publishing revolution is impacting on society and culture and upon understandings of the discipline of writing and also on arts education.
3) works exploring anti-oppressive (rehumanising/ reenchanting) creative responses to the new environment.
4) the personal psychological/psychospiritual benefits of exercising one's creativity and imagination as a means to make sense of and respond to the 'postmodern', 'globalised' world in which we all live.
Mercurius Press (Australia) will also eventually publish experimental literary texts in the genres of poetry and fiction writing.
At this stage publication will be by invitation only until we have a business model developed and tested - however we hope to open up to the public in the near future. Managing Editor, Dr Ian Irvine, is always available to discuss the above issues and can be contacted via this site (i.e. Authors Den)
To see a rough list of some of the topics we hope to see covered by this publishing house please read Ian's list of public presentations/lectures etc.::
List of lectures and public talks Dr Ian Irvine (as at Novemner 2101).
You might like to think about other topics related to creativity and the arts and arts education that need to be covered ... How do you personally experience being a writer/artists/creative thinker in the contemporary world?