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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
April 11, 2017 •• Music Bridge
Music & Diversity

Last week, our trainees came together again in Northern Ireland to exchange and deepen their skills as community music workshop leaders. We were joined by two researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, to collect information about our project as part of a multi-year research study ‘Sounding Conflict – From Resistance to Reconciliation‘. We were also joined by Chris Nicholson, MwB project manager in Rwanda, to learn more about our work in the context of monitoring and evaluation for our programs.

Over the weekend, our second year trainees explored their creative potential through vocal and movement improvisation exercises. As the second year training focuses on workshop skills with adolescent groups, our trainees had the chance to develop these skills through role play scenarios, putting themselves in the very shoes of their workshop participants!

On Sunday, the trainees led the first year group through a full-length workshop, including a songwriting exercise with the theme of diversity, a highly relevant topic for our group of trainees as well as the larger context in Northern Ireland. Our trainee group is highly diverse, with participants coming from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, the Basque Country, and even as far as Canada!

Our training program emphasizes respect for diversity, training participants how to create a safe and inclusive space in their workshops for many different experiences to be shared and valued.

The chorus that emerged from our song:

We also explored the potential for creativity through activities with our first year trainees, creating an orchestra out of paper and a band out of found objects.

Later that week, we had opportunity to work with students from the Model Primary school, with a focus on percussion and songwriting activities.

Our trainees will bring these skills back into diverse communities throughout Northern Ireland as well as further afield, throughout the Republic and as far as Lebanon, within community programs and schools as well as refugee and asylum seeker groups.

View photos from the training here.