VANS presents a free public lecture by Lewis Hyde

Author and cultural critic, Lewis Hyde gives public lecture on The Public Life of the Imagination

(Halifax)  To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) will present a lecture by the poet, essayist, translator and cultural critic Lewis Hyde. This event will explore questions related to the value and meaning of art in contemporary life as well as alternative ways in which we can measure the importance and value of art, culture and creativity in our society as a whole.


Lewis Hyde wrote The Gift, a book that offers a “brilliantly orchestrated defense of the value of creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money and overrun with commodities”. Although it was written more than thirty years ago, the ideas presented in The Gift seem especially relevant today. Social scientists have long understood that many communities, ancient and modern, incorporate gift exchange into their economies. In this lecture, Hyde outlines some of the important ways in which gift exchange differs from a trade in commodities and then shows how these are usefully associated with artistic practice, with “the commerce of the creative spirit.”

The lecture will take place on March 28, 2017 at 7pm at the Paul O’ Regan Hall in the Halifax Central Library.  A reception will be held in advance of the lecture at 6pm. The event is free but attendees must reserve tickets in advance via Eventbrite. Reserve your ticket here.

More about Lewis Hyde: In his 1983 book, The Gift, Hyde illuminates and defends the non-commercial portion of artistic practice. Trickster Makes This World (1998) uses a group of ancient myths to argue for the kind of disruptive intelligence all cultures need if they are to remain lively, flexible, and open to change. Hyde’s most recent book, Common as Air, is a spirited defense of our “cultural commons,” that vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present.
 A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. 

Visual Arts Nova Scotia recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Arts Nova Scotia.

For more information, see the VANS website or contact:

Carri MacKay
Programming Coordinator
Visual Arts Nova Scotia
t: 902-423-4694, 1-866-225-8267