Every year since 2015, the international research platform SIMM (Social Impact of Music Making) has brought together experts from the fields of musical practice and research. After Brussels and Ghent, London, Porto and Bogota, the annual SIMM-posium returns to Belgium this winter, hosted by BOZAR.
From 12 January to 9 March, weekly online sessions will bring together some of the world’s leading specialists to explore themes that combine music and activism. The central question is how music can contribute to greater social cohesion in fragile communities, because is the power of music not to generate mental well-being, and therefore social well-being?
The different sessions will take place via Zoom and will always follow the same procedure. Each session has a specific theme, and we invite top specialists to present their research. The presentations will be followed by a panel debate and a Q&A for the audience. Each session will be accompanied by some music.
- Introduction and welcome by Lukas Pairon (founding director SIMM, BE)
- Keynote Rethinking Social Action Through Music by Geoffrey Baker (Royal Holloway University, UK) followed by an exchange with SIMM-president John Sloboda (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, UK)
- Introduction by the chair, Ann De Bisschop (University College Ghent, BE)
- With Filip Verneert (LUCA School of Art Leuven, BE), John Sloboda (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, UK), Kate Wareham (University of Sheffield, UK)
John Sloboda (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, UK) provides an insight into an international project that systematically analyses SIMM professionals doing research in Belgium, Colombia, Finland and the United Kingdom. He presents the methodology and the first research results of the first year.
Filip Verneert (LUCA School of Art Leuven, BE) researched how a participatory music project with homeless adults can provide inspiration for a wider range of educational practices. More specifically, he zooms in on TOSO (The Ostend Street Orkestra), an orchestra of homeless people set up to counter the negative public opinion of the growing number of homeless people.
Kate Wareham (University of Sheffield, UK) presents her research into the role of music in the everyday life of young homeless people. Specifically, she presents her results on a group of 30 young homeless people aged 16-25 who are living in temporary housing services in Great Manchester.
Flore Croux, Silke Marynissen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Ghent University, BE), Alessandro Mazzola (Guildhall School of Music, UK), Ailbhe Kenny (Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, IE)
Introduction by the chair, John Speyer (Music in Detention, UK)
In the first session on music in imprisonment, Silke Marynissen and Flore Croux discuss musical activities in Belgian prisons. These activities seem to be particularly popular because they transcend nationality, origin and religious background. Then again Alessandro Mazzola looks at the results of participatory music projects in reception centres in Belgium between 2015 and 2018, while Ailbhe Kenny researches musical activities in asylum centres in Ireland.
During this international roundtable, six presenters from six countries critically question multiple aspects of prisons and criminal legal systems. Injustices run rampant. How do music education practices sustain inequities and how could music-making in prisons serve as a way to radically overhaul our approaches to justice? We discuss research and case studies that provide new insights toward innovative applications of music education in communities, schools, and prisons.
Kim Boeskov (Aarhus University Kopenhagen, DK), Frank Heuser (UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, University of California, US), Sean Prieske (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, DE), Alexandra Lamont (Keel University, UK)
Introduction by the chair, John Sloboda (Guildhall School of Music and Drama, UK)
In the fourth session, four researchers introduce a number of intercultural social music projects from around the world. Kim Boeskov discusses ethical dilemmas within intercultural music projects in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Next, Frank Heuser explains how two non-profit art educational organisations in the US use their musical training to evolve towards a more egalitarian community. Sean Prieske talks about the problems of music projects for refugees during the Covid crisis and, lastly, Alexandra Lamont looks at the impact on the well-being of people who donate musical instruments.
With Jane W. Davidson, Alexander Crooke, Trisnasari Fraser (AU), Mariko Hara (University of Melbourne, AU), Tia de Nora (University of Exeter, UK), Gillian Howell (University of Melbourne, AU), Charulatha Mani (Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, AU),
Introduction by the chair, Brydie-Leigh Bartleet (Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre,Griffith University, AU)
In the second session on intercultural social projects, we first hear about the findings of Jane W. Davidson, Alexander Crooke, Tia DeNora and others who interviewed fifteen community musicians in Australia, Norway and the United States on the impact of coronavirus on their work. Gillian Howell looks at the unifying impact of music on strictly divided communities. Charulatha Mani is also fascinated by these themes. She asserts that lullabies may be a decisive factor in finding more common ground between ethnically diverse communities.
Thomas Köhn (Institute for Art, Music and its Mediation, Leuphana University Lüneburg, DE), Mia Nakamura (Kyushu University, JP), Yukiyo Sugiyama (Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, JP), Tiziana Rossi (Conservatorio di musica “A.Boito”, Parma, IT), Lorraine Roubertie (Université Clermont Auvergne, FR)
Introduction by the chair, Graça Mota (CIPEM/INET-md – Centro de Investigação em Psicologia da Música e Educação Musical, Porto, PT)
The musician is at the heart of this session, as three researchers explain how music encouraged them to become more socially engaged. Thomas Köhn talks about how contemporary Jewish-German hip-hop can provoke discussion of the trauma of the holocaust. Mia Nakamura and Yukiyo Sugiyama have researched how mediators can cooperate to increase inclusivity in orchestras with multiple generations in Japan. Lorraine Roubertie Soliman’s research also deals with orchestras. She presents Demos Clermont-Ferrand, a project aimed at democratising symphony orchestras.
Juan Sebastian Rojas (Juan N. Corpas University Foundation, Bogota, CO), Sebastian Olave-Soler (Sorbonne University / CRIMIC, FR), Lukas Pairon (SIMM / University of Ghent, BE)
Introduction by the chair, Lukas Pairon (SIMM, BE)
Natalia Julian Puerta Gordillo (Guildhall School, UK), Agata Ricca (University of Aveiro, PT), Viviana Valenzuela (University of Buenos Aires, AR)
Introduction by the chair, Maria Majno (Sistema Europe, IT)
In the second session, we delve further into social music projects in the Global South. The three speakers have researched projects which focus on inclusion and social cohesion. Natalia Julian Puerta Gordillo presents her findings on a municipal music school in Colombia, Agata Ricca her field research into choirs in Lebanon and Mozambique and Viviana Valenzuela her research into orchestras for young people from vulnerable backgrounds in Argentina.
This performance is part of the Art & Well-being project, co-financed by the European Union's Creative Europe programme.