Transformative Language Arts (TLA), which Caryn founded as part of her life work, is a new and emerging calling, profession, and academic field focused on social and personal transformation through the written, spoken or sung word. Transformative Language artists bring the language arts – writing, storytelling, drama, performance, and more – to community-building, cultural and ecological restoration, personal development, and many other areas of individual and collective liberation. Transformative Language artists, scholars, facilitators, and consultants facilitate creativity and language arts in many venues, such as community centers, schools, prisons, health centers and hospitals, businesses, research facilities, retreat centers, and more.
In 1998, Caryn started to realize how much writing had saved and enhanced her life, which led to her founding a master’s level TLA degree at Goddard College in 2000. She went on in 2003 to organize an annual conference, the Power of Words, through Goddard College, which is now a project of the TLA Network, a not-for-profit professional organization started by TLA students, faculty, alumni and friends. She also started an extensive TLA resource page and co-edited with Janet Tallman the first definitive book on TLA, The Power of Words, and with Ruth Farmer, she recently co-edited a second TLA anthology, Transformative Language Arts in Action. She currently coordinates Goddard’s MA in TLA, and serves on the TLA Network Council.