What is Avant-Garde?

a·vant-garde (French pronunciation: [avɑ̃ɡaʁd]); from French, "advance guard" or "vanguard") is a French term used in English as a noun or adjective to refer to any creative group of people (or work) active in the innovation and application of new concepts and techniques, whose approach and ideas are markedly experimental or in advance of those generally accepted; particularly with respect to art, culture, business and politics etc. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo.  

Cultural Creatives: the sleeping beauty (part 1 of 4)

December 30th, 2012

sleeping beauty

“If enough people realise that they need to start looking for new ways to live together on this small planet, this can topple the prevailing systems. We need to mobilise creativity. Creativity that refuses to accept the existing order and that wants to discover that there are other ways to live.”  – Kamp & Laszlo 2004

(This article is a first of a four part series).

We’ve often heard it said, if enough conscious individuals come together to form a critical mass, they can create a tipping point that potentially could shift the planet away from pointless ruin and towards an optimistic, sustainable future.

Currently we may well be standing at that edge of a precipice, where we have the choice to either breakdown or breakthrough and experience a rare shift in evolutionary consciousness – something that may only happen once or twice a millennium.

This tipping point may be closer than we think, with the wave of the newly emerging ‘Culture Creatives’ (a term first coined in 2000 by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson in their book ‘The Culture Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World’).

Who are the ‘Culture Creatives’?

You may recognise them, perhaps even know them personally. The ‘Culture Creatives’ are ordinary everyday people, like you and me, they are teachers, artists, parents, spiritual guides, scientists, business people, activists, feminists, environmentalists, social entrepreneurs etc.

In 2000 the ‘Culture Creatives’ made up nearly 25% of the population. This translates to over 50 million adults in the United States and more than 80-90 million in Europe, a subculture that share ‘Cultural Creative’ worldviews, values and lifestyle[1].

They are the ones we see when we shop at natural food stores; they use alternative medicine and/or have solar panels on their roofs. What’s important to the ‘Culture Creatives’ is a more authentic way of living, that is healthier, sustainable and more compassionate. They are the ‘Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability’ (LOHAS)[2] market, representing one in four adults or $209US billion, in a growing marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. There is evidence to show that as consumers they are the future of your business and of progressive social, environmental and economic change. Yet, their power as a consumer market remains virtually untapped.[3]

As the vanguard of today’s cultural transformation, the ‘Culture Creatives’ share a concern for social, ecological, spiritual and personal development. Courageously questioning the status quo and daring to arouse social creativity in mainstream culture.

[1] Paul H. Ray & Sherry Ruth Anderson (2000) ‘The Culture Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World’

[2] LOHAS online; go to www.lohas.com

[3] A LOHAS Background: Learn how LOHAS was developed, market sectors and how to get involved. Go to www.lohas.com.