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home > Our work > Programs > Where We Work > Music Bridge
Music Bridge

Music Bridge is a community music training project in collaboration with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, a pioneer in bringing a collaborative approach to the exploration of arts and culture in Northern Ireland. The project aims to build the capacity of local musicians and organizations to facilitate community work through musical interactions, making a meaningful contribution towards community development and peacebuilding in the
region.

Background

Cultúrlann and Musicians Without Borders first collaborated in the
production of Singing the Bridge, a festival of community music and music therapy in Derry-Londonderry in May 2013. Singing the Bridge attracted community music professionals, local musicians and community workers and organizations to explore music’s potential to contribute to reconciliation and bridge-building in Northern Ireland’s divided communities.

Following the success of Singing the Bridge, a year-long community music training program (2014-2015) was implemented for local musicians, followed by two year-long training cycles (2015-2016, 2016-2017) to train new cohorts as well as to offer additional training for graduated trainees.

Results (2014-2017):

  • Over 50 people trained in community music leadership: “I experienced the power of opening up – to music and collaboration and trust. It’s not an easy process, but it’s an affecting one.
  • Over 200 community music workshops reaching more than 2,200
    participants: “It takes long to come out of conflict. The problems may be still the same as before, but you can promote understanding and tolerance. Musicians Without Borders attracts me because their program is based on respect and tolerance.”
  • Long-standing relationships formed with various local and cross-community organizations in Northern Ireland, including Model Primary School, a progressive integrated school in Derry-Londonderry: “I’m seeing such deep and personal connections being made, deep enough that when they greet you in the street it is with a smile and a hug. I look forward to the work we do in the areas that need these connections the most.”

Music Bridge

Since the initial implementation phase of the training project concluded in
2017, a series of sub-projects within Music Bridge have been developed and
implemented under the Cultúrlann’s leadership together with MWB Trainer and local project manager Amanda Koser-Gillespie for local community groups.

Amanda runs regular community music workshops for teenagers and adults with special needs in single identity and mixed identity communities, members of local communities who have been affected by the legacy of The Troubles, working with single identity and mixed identity schools (primary and post-primary) and adults in mental health treatment. There are occasional guest workshops and speaking engagements with both local and cross-border colleges and universities.

Links:
Research report on the 2017 Music Bridge training program, published as part of a multi-year research project with Queen’s University Belfast

Music Bridge webpage on Cultúrlann’s website

For inquiries about the project, please contact Meagan Hughes at [email protected]

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