Arts and Ethnomusicology

Arts specialists advocate for and enable communities to draw on their artistic forms of communication to meet their goals.

Arts Specialist

Arts Specialists work alongside local singers, actors, dancers, story tellers and artisans. Together they research and document a community’s performing and visual arts, and then spark artistic creation to reach positive spiritual and social goals.

Preparation for this role generally requires formal training, consisting of satisfactory performance in the following SIL standard courses or their equivalents. The exact set of courses is determined in consultation with an advisor from the SIL Ethnomusicology and Arts Group. The advisor will take into account the student’s background and training. 

Linguistics and Anthropology Courses

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Introduction to Language Structure, or another basic introduction to phonetics, phonology and grammar
  • Language and Culture Learning
  • Language and Society
  • Introduction to Language Development

Arts Courses

  • Arts for a Better Future - Not yet officially required, but we strongly encourage you to take this.
  • Audio and Video Techniques for Fieldworkers
  • Expressive Form Analysis
  • Research Methods for World Arts
  • Applied Arts
  • One artistic domain specialty such as Oral Tradition and Literature, Discourse Analysis, Song Transcription and Analysis or a special project exploring another art form

Application Courses

  • One application specialty course such as Scripture Use, Literacy, Community Development, Language Development or Translation (some of these courses require prerequisites)
  • One missiology course

Arts courses are offered at GIAL's Center for Excellence in World Arts and Payap University

Coursework is followed by a six-month to three-year, supervised field apprenticeship as an Arts Specialist.

Arts Consultant

Arts Consultants provide leadership and advise others with regard to artistic communication issues in language development programs. They assist others to plan and implement measures to make full use of local artistic forms; train and mentor arts workers, specialists and partners; help identify funding for arts endeavors; participate in scholarly communities for the arts and ethnomusicology.

Arts Consultants should generally hold an MA, MFA, or PhD in a relevant field, although in some contexts an undergraduate degree with extensive experience is sufficient. Arts Consultants should have two or more years of experience serving as an Arts Specialist under the supervision of an experienced Arts Consultant.

Arts Worker

Some SIL contexts offer positions for Arts Workers. These roles are designed for more localized arts advocacy and thus require less broad-based training.

For more information, email