On 1 November 2017, we welcomed Dr. Olivier Urbain, Director of the Min-On Music Research Institute, Tokyo to our first annual themes and methods workshop of the PaCCS project ‘Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation’.
This advisory team meeting was held in the Fellows Room at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University, Belfast. The project team comprises Prof. Fiona Magowan (PI), CIs Prof. Beverley Milton-Edwards, Prof. Pedro Rebelo, Dr. Stefanie Lehner, Dr. Julie Norman, Dr. Jim Donaghey (PDRF) and Christina Captieux (Project Coordinator).
Our international expert advisor, Dr. Urbain is a renowned figure in the field of music in peacebuilding. He established the Min-On Music Research Institute in 2014 to develop research collaborations and programmes to enhance peacebuilding activities through music. Our collaboration with the Min-On Music Research Institute began in 2015 and he held a Leverhulme Visiting Research Professorship in the Mitchell Institute in 2016. As our international advisor in Peace Studies and Music in Peacebuilding, Olivier offered criticalinput to our overall project goals, thematic interconnections and peacebuilding theories. Following a review of the project’s aims, objectives and implementation over the past year, each project member highlighted key issues arising from their research as follows:
* Prof. Beverley Milton-Edward’s report highlighted how professional rappers in Jordan are impacting upon the ways in which youth resist the effects of conflict and displacement through the creation and circulation of new rap songs and lyrics.
* Focusing on the sounds of the voice in mediating conflict, Dr. Lehner outlined how her work with the four Northern Ireland theatres raises issues of the representation and interpretation of how conflicts are staged, expressed and evoked in language, dialects, intonation and articulation to perform the past.
* Further engagements with narrating conflict, emerge in the research conducted by Profs. Rebelo and Magowan among participants in a Rio favela. In fieldwork interviews, they variously reflected upon their memories and experiences of sounds three years after the effects of militarization. Their insights give rise to understanding how favela residents have developed new strategies of resilient living through digital connections and ways of privileging sounds of the everyday, countering popular media discourses of violence.
* Sounds and movements of participation underpin Dr. Donaghey and Prof. Magowan’s findings with Musicians without Borders in Northern Ireland and Amsterdam from three periods of fieldwork. They are examining critical intersections between verbal and non-verbal aspects of emotion, place and memory, revealing broader social, educational and therapeutic effects.
* Dr. Norman explained how her research with Musicians without Borders in Palestine has significant implications for policy impacts for refugee youth relating to culturally distinct processes of inclusion. She further outlined her proposed research plans for Spring 2018 on digital poetry and storytelling with Syrian refugee youth.
In discussions around the three themes of resistance, intervention and reconciliation, Dr. Urbain noted the need to attend to the early expressions in the ‘lifecycle of conflicts’ (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse, and Miall 2011) and thus, to link post-conflict peacebuilding strategies to pre-conflict ones. He further highlighted how our focus on sound throughout the project invites reflections upon the nature of vibration and its place in rhythm and effecting new modes of relationship. Our discussions also explored how the different kinds of sonic interconnectivities with which we are working might be employed in other domains to elicit deeper understandings of psychological responses to sound in peacebuilding. It is clear that in each of the interrelated and cross-cutting themes of the projects, distinctive discursive, practical and emotional modes of resilience are emerging as pivotal markers of influence and change. We are most grateful to Dr. Urbain for his important contributions to the project and look forward to continuing our discussions and taking forward the research initiatives and developments planned for next year.
Ramsbotham, Oliver, Tom Woodhouse and Hugh Miall. 2011. Contemporary Conflict Resolution (3rd edn). Cambridge: Polity.
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