Music for Global Human Development
Music is a social technology of tremendous potential for positive social change. Music for Global Human Development (M4GHD) is an approach to applied ethnomusicology that entails participatory action research projects in music & development (humanized in aims and methods), centered on global collaborations between academics, NGOs, government organizations, musicians, and others, applying ethnomusicology to real-world social issues, focusing on peoples who have been marginalized--socially, politically, economically--by colonialism and its aftermath, whether in the "developing" world or not, and linking them to others across the globe. These music-centered projects, often including also related arts (dance, poetry, drama) as well, are ideally twinned with evaluative evidence-based research, gauging project impact through anthropological and sociological study. They are carried out as collaborative projects in partnership with artists and other experts in each locale, resulting in change for all participants, rippling outwards . The aim, in every case, is global human development, as well as development of the global human.
M4GHD is a project of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology
M4GHD comprises four main branches:
- (1) Songs for sustainable peace and development: primarily via local mass-mediated popular music styles, to disseminate messages relevant to crucial development issues, especially public health, education, peace, tolerance, and constructive critique...and especially to the youth, while building a horizontally integrated "culture of music" and supporting social cohesion on this basis. This project focuses on social weft, the horizontal threads that bind society today. A crucial application is GIVING VOICE TO HEALTH:
- Traditional music and dance for health education and promotion in rural northern Ghana. This, our principal current project, in collaboration with the Youth Home Cultural Group in Tamale, Ghana, centers on health promotion in rural areas of Ghana's Northern Region, via dance dramas combining music, dance, and theatre, and performed live in regional villages. Sustainability is ensured by initiating also local village-based musical groups carrying the same repertoire. All this is coupled with research -- survey, focus group, and participant observation ethnography-- along with monitoring and evaluation, whose results feed back to guide the project.
- Sanitation and its accompanying documentary.
- Music for Ebola awareness, prevention and training
- Music for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, funded by Global Affairs Canada development (ex-CIDA), through a Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry grant in collaboration with St. Paul's hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (http://bit.ly/musmnch)
- (2) Music for cultural continuity and civil society: supporting participatory, adaptive musical continuity (neither stasis nor displacement) towards broader intergenerational social and cultural connectivity over time--the social "warp"--and hence greater social solidarity in the present. Such music may be accompanied by development messages stressing the importance of such continuity for identity, cohesion, and civil society. Ironically one of the most powerful ways to support musical continuity is by injecting "traditional" music into the local media space, which otherwise tends to become filled with global popular music. Subprojects include partnerships with culture organizations in Egypt, Lebanon, and elsewhere. See for instance, in Ghana: Kinka: Songs from Avenorpedo, and in Egypt: the Aswan Music Project (AMP)
- (3) Musical economies: promoting economic development through music (e.g. musical tourism) and related arts, including special cultural festivals and concert events drawing visitors, regular live performances for tourists who may also visit for other reasons, as well as longer-term practical study of local music and dance with local artists.
- (3) Global Community Music Therapy: by which the actions of musicking, dancing, and interacting constitute a form of therapy (e.g. music and dance to reduce the incidence of diabetes) for community health, beyond messaging or social connection.
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Course: Music for Global Human Development
I have formulated an undergraduate course (Music 365) centered on M4GHD, which functions as an M4GHD project in itself. See http://course.m4ghd.org
The Summer 2017 Ghana program also centers on Music for Global Human Development. See http://bit.ly/ghanamusic
Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology (CCE)
M4GHD is a project within CCE, and CCE is a direction within M4GHD. (Essentially CCE is the umbrella organization for all things ethnomusicology or world music here at the University of Alberta.)
For more information contact us: email@example.com.
--Michael Frishkopf, Professor of Music, University of Alberta