Volume 4 (2) 2012 – Article
Cross-Cultural Collaboration as Community Growth and Integration: Children’s Music Projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Scotland
Hannah Linklater & Lewis Forbes
This paper constitutes a reflective account of inclusive approaches in two children’s music projects, both aiming to foster group creativity alongside cross-cultural awareness and understanding. The first of these projects involved sharing songs composed by children and young people from a special needs school in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a primary school choir in Edinburgh, Scotland. The second project, in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, focused on group song-writing and performance involving three groups of children from ethnically separated schools, alongside a choir from a school for children with visual impairments. On reflection, we discuss cross-cultural musical collaboration as an effective means of bringing children together across social and cultural divides in order to share new experiences while building respect for differences. We hope projects such as these may represent the first step towards the ultimate goal of encouraging and nurturing more inclusive friendships between children who might not otherwise have opportunities to interact with each other.
interculturalism, children’s music projects, song-writing, health, inclusivity, community impact
Hannah Linklater was awarded an MSc in Music in the Community by the University of Edinburgh in 2011. Her professional and research interests include infant musicality, inclusive music-making and the music of Women. She has a 5-year history of involvement in music projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Currently, she works as a music and drama workshop leader in a variety of community settings in Edinburgh. Hannah has strong personal interests in issues of social justice and body positivity, as well as in Scottish culture and the natural world, all of which inform her practice as a community musician.
Lewis Forbes was awarded an MMus in Composition from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. Since graduating he has worked extensively as a music session leader for teenagers and young adults with additional support needs. As a composer he draws from the natural phenomena of sound, Scottish traditional music, and the links between music and the body. He has an interest in musical instrument technologies and has explored experimental instrument design with a focus on accessibility for those with special needs. Lewis first visited Bosnia-Herzegovina with Hannah in 2007 and has since been involved in a number of music projects in this region.