Music for Global Human Development
Music is a social technology of tremendous potential for social justice, resilience, and positive 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.
In the process, these links, resonating with the emotions of musical communication, are transformed into what I call "threads", extending horizontally across ethnic divides (weft) as well as longitudinally, across generation gaps (warp). Together they weave a new, global social fabric of understanding and connection, in which new patterns emerge.
These music-centered projects, 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, weaving the global social fabric, one thread at a time...
- This video for a quick introduction to basic concepts & theory (7.5 min)
- M4GHD presentation for SEM 2020 (15.5 min)
- M4GHD presentation for ICTM 2022 (22 min)
- This position paper for an overview of M4GHD theory (from the journal Ethnomusicology).
- Chapter 2 in the recently published volume, Transforming Ethnomusicology, vol. 2 (Oxford University Press)
- This website describing our latest big project focused on maternal and neonatal health in Ethiopia
- These papers, for instances of theory in practice:
- Forging Transnational Actor Networks through Participatory Action Research: Responsibility to Protect via Musical Rehumanisation in Post-War Liberia, The World of Music Vol. 7, No. 1/2
- Performing arts as a social technology for community health promotion in northern Ghana, Family Medicine and Community Health, Vol. 4, No. 1
M4GHD comprises four main branches:
- (1) Songs for 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:
- Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees
- Singing and Dancing for Health: Traditional music and dance for health education and promotion in rural northern Ghana in collaboration with the Youth Home Cultural Group in Tamale, Ghana. The project 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, a music video for better sanitation awareness and behavior change in post-war Monrovia. See also Frishkopf, Michael. Popular Music as Public Health Technology: Music for Global Human Development and “Giving Voice to Health” in Liberia. Journal of Folklore Research, Vol. 54, No. 1-2, Music and Global Health (January/August 2017), pp. 41-86.
- Music for Ebola awareness, prevention and training, addressing the West African crisis of 2014-2015.
- Music for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (M4-MNCH), 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. A song raising awareness of maternal health issues, produced by celebrated Ethiopian musician/producer Thomas Gobena, has been completed ...and a music video is completed and will be released on 24 Oct 2019. See presentation here. After 24 Oct 2019 please watch the video (and take a survey, if you are living in Ethiopia) via http://uab.ca/mnch. Also see Folio story by Geoff McMaster.
- (2) Music for Cultural Continuity: 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). Also Sounding the Garden, an augmented sonic reality layer for the University of Alberta's Aga Khan Garden in Edmonton, Alberta, designed to support harmonious understanding of Islam and religious pluralism in Canada, while deepening visitors' experiences of the world's northernmost Islamic garden.
- (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. Now in development in Aswan, Egypt as part of the Aswan Music Project.
- (4) Global Community Music/Sound Therapy: by which the actions of musicking (performing, listening, 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. Related to the Singing and Dancing for Health initiative, Chinese Five element music therapy, as well as Autonomous Adaptive Soundscapes.
Please follow the above links to learn more...
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, as well as an instance of Community Service Learning (CSL). See http://course.m4ghd.org
Most of our M4GHD-CSL projects have developed connections to local Edmonton-based non-profit organizations. The summer 2017 Ghana program also centered on Music for Global Human Development. See http://bit.ly/ghanamusic
Relevant publications on M4GHD and M4GHD projects
- Frishkopf, Michael. “Music for Global Human Development.” In Transforming Ethnomusicology, edited by Beverly Diamond and Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco. Oxford: Oxford University Press (27 pages; in press)
- 2019 “Music for global human development, and refugees,” in Call and Response: SEM President's Roundtable 2016, “Ethnomusicological Responses to the Contemporary Dynamics of Migrants and Refugees”, Ethnomusicology, 63:2.
- Frishkopf, Michael. "Forging Transnational Actor Networks through Participatory Action Research: Responsibility to Protect via Musical Rehumanisation in Post-War Liberia". World of Music. 7 (1/2): 107-134, 2018.
- M. Frishkopf, D.Zakus, S.Abu, H.Hamze, M.Alhassan, I.A.Zukpeni. "Traditional Music as a Sustainable Social Technology for Community Health Promotion in Africa: “Singing and Dancing for Health” in Rural Northern Ghana." Annals of Global Health, Volume 83, Issue 1, January–February 2017, Page 38.
- Frishkopf, Michael. Popular Music as Public Health Technology: Music for Global Human Development and “Giving Voice to Health” in Liberia. Journal of Folklore Research, Vol. 54, No. 1-2, Music and Global Health (January/August 2017), pp. 41-86.
- Frishkopf, Michael, David Zakus, Hasan Hamze, Mubarak Alhassan, Ibrahim Abukari Zukpeni, Sulemana Abu. 2016 Traditional Music as a Sustainable Social Technology for Community Health Promotion in Africa: “Singing and Dancing for Health” in Rural Northern Ghana. Legon Journal of the Humanities, special issue: Music, Health and Wellbeing: African Perspectives, edited by Florian Carl and Eric Debrah Otchere, 27(2):59-90, 2016.
- Frishkopf, Michael, Hasan Hamze, Mubarak Alhassan, Ibrahim Abukari Zukpeni, Sulemana Abu, and David Zakus. 2016. “Performing Arts as a Social Technology for Community Health Promotion in Northern Ghana.” Family Medicine and Community Health 4 (1): 22–36, 2016.
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.)
- Song aims to reduce maternal deaths in Ethiopia
- UAlberta Campus Connections Award winner uses music as “social technology” for community change
- Ethnomusicologist promotes music and healing around the world
- 'Singing and Dancing for Health' puts spotlight on preventing malaria
For more information contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
--Michael Frishkopf, Professor of Music, University of Alberta