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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.

We publish papers and and collaborate with researchers to advocate the use of music for reconciliation, healing and social change.

Current research collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast: Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation seeks to analyse the ways in which sound (including sonic arts and participatory music-making) can project and ameliorate community experiences, memories and narratives in conflict/post-conflict contexts from resistance through to reconciliation. The core themes addressed are resistance, resilience and reconciliation through memory, senses of place/community, attitudinal and behavioural transformations (individual and social), and hope/future visions. More information.

Requests for research: We regretfully have a very limited capacity to honor requests for research of our programs, given our small team as well as the fragile nature of our project locations and constituents. We recommend referring to the above articles as well as the information available on our website.

Publications

The Imperative of Diverse and Distinctive Musical Creativities as Practices of Social Justice
Pamela Burnard, Laura Hassler, Lis Murphy, & Otto de Jong
The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education

Abstract: Social injustice and intercultural tensions are often bound up with conflicts that create intolerances: conflicts of memory, conflicts of value, and conflicts of cultural stereotyping, which serve to demarcate one group from the alien “other.” Raising awareness through research needs to position academics, researchers, non-academics, and arts organizations as collaborative partners for deliberating about and developing intercultural translation; this requires dialogue, exchange, and co-construction. What forms the core of this chapter, then, are findings of ongoing research, presented as a layered story interlocking elements in theory and practice relating to how different types of creativities are recognized and communicated in the diverse practices of a particular organization, Musicians without Borders, whose projects work with the power of music to connect communities. This chapter presents an exploration of the empathic and intercultural creativities that emerge in the songwriting and improvisational practices of musical creativities, empathy, interculturality, practices, improvisation, and songwriting.

Purchase online.

 Cello Lessons and Teargas: War, Peace and Music Education
Laura Hassler, Chris Nicholson, (et al.)
The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education

Abstract: A discussion on the role of arts education in Musicians without Borders and the application of the power of music for healing and reconciliation in war-torn societies is presented in this chapter. While teaching instruments and musicianship in itself is never the ultimate objective of Musicians without Borders, an educative element is present in all musical interaction. Through vignettes taken from experiences in Palestine, Kosovo, Rwanda and Bosnia during music workshops, instrument classes and music therapy sessions, the authors reflect on the place that music education has in musical interactions that aim to restore the health of individuals and communities in post-conflict societies, and the possible applications of this approach in other settings.

Purchase online.