There is an international movement of community music and everywhere I travel I see a different side and aspect of the practice. Currently I am teaching for 2 days at the Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia after working on two conferences in Hong Kong and Auckland.
In New Zealand someone asked ‘what is community music’ (as so often happens) and the good answer was not ‘what is’ but ‘what is it that Community Music does’. This clearly unifies the world and also fits in so well with the YM and the outcomes approach and my passion for finding the values that unite us. It is also so interesting how the agendas seem to develop globally in similar ways with a current interest everywhere in ‘wellbeing’. In More Music projects with young people we are focussing a great deal on mental health and looking for strategies for sessions that will help staff (Rachel will be posting on this very soon) and in Hong Kong the conference was about ‘Music for Wellness’ and connected in particular with music therapists and social workers. (There we are definitely developing what Hong Kong community musicians call Community Music Therapy’.) Meanwhile in New Zealand the conference of the World Alliance for Arts Education brought together dancers, musicians, drama workers and visual artists and a consistent focus was on health and wellbeing in particular in the way they link to the UNESCO sustainable development goals https://en.unesco.org/sdgs.
So how is this relevant to music leaders working for inclusive practice in the UK? I personally believe that the research and practice that takes place at these international gatherings is a brilliant way of sharing and developing practice for everyone. Papers presented in one place help people reflect and there are always some UK community musicians whose values and brilliant work is highlighted at these international gatherings.
Here are some links:
To my blog with stories and pics http://www.moremusic.org.uk/blog/tag/Autumntour2017
To the CMA in Georgia next year where you could come and present a paper or a workshop http://www.isme2018.org/Community-Music-Activity.php
To the International Centre for Community Music in York https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/iccm/
We are all researchers - we are all practitioners - I hope we are also internationalists. We can all help to support change in the world - let's keep on keeping on !