The FUTURED-project has now officially started

Photo: Tine Grieg Viig and Marthe Seljestad Berg-Olsen

The research project «Music Education for the Future» (FUTURED 2019-2022) started up with a kick off seminar 9th-10th September in Bergen, Norway with researchers from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and Oslo Metropolitan University in addition to guest researchers from Norway, Finland, Ireland and The United States.

The researchers presented the three work packages, and had response and critical comments from guests, steering group and advisory board members. This was helpful for moving on with the continuing work in all the different parts of the study. Data will be collected through a national survey and qualitative interviews with preservice teachers in Norwegian music teacher education, as well as through participatory action research with preservice teachers both on campus and in practicum in collaboration with a musician and a music teacher.

The purpose of the study is to map the current situation in Norwegian music teacher education and together with students develop tools to empower educators and preservice teachers to handle future challenges that music education has a potential to meet. Read more about the project here.

Catharina Christophersen is managing the project. Researchers from Culture, Criticism, Community involved in the project are Silje Valde Onsrud, Kari Holdhus, Tine Grieg Viig (postdoc), Eyolf Nysæther (Ph.D. candidate), Judy Lewis (guest researcher) and Ailbhe Kenny (guest researcher). Other researchers involved are Jan Sverre Knudsen (OsloMet), Bendik Fredriksen (OsloMet), Hanne Fossum (OsloMet), Jon Helge Sætre (NMH), and Heidi Partti (University of the Arts Helsinki).

From the discussions of the work packages. Photo: Catharina Christophersen.

Music in primary schools and social inclusion of immigrant pupils in Norway

This PhD project is a critical investigation of participatory music making as an arena for inclusion and community building in primary schools with intensive language classes for newly arrived immigrant pupils, exploring dynamics of inclusion and exclusion.

Norway has recently experienced a relatively large influx of immigrants that has led to rapid changes in its formerly fairly homogeneous society and school system. The national curriculum states that music as a school subject plays a central role in adapted teaching in an inclusive school, and that in a multicultural society music education has the potential to contribute to pupils’ positive identity formation through encouraging a sense of belonging to their own cultures and cultural heritage, as well as tolerance and respect for other people’s cultures.

To collect data, an ethnographic case study of music lessons and music activities in an urban primary school with an intensive language class is carried out, including:

  • Non-participant observation
  • Interviews with pupils, teachers and head
  • Field notes and researcher reflexive log
  • Pilot project participatory music workshops

The theoretical starting points of the study are:

  • Intercultural education (Portera, 2010)
  • Socialisation into educational settings that allows ‘newcomers’ to be active subjects in their new surroundings (Biesta, 2015)
  • Potential communities of musical practice (Kenny, 2016) in schools with intensive language classes
  • Building community through musical participation (Turino, 2008)
  • Musical action as a performative, social phenomenon (Bowman, 2007)
  • Inclusion and exclusion processes for minority language students in Norwegian schools (Hilt, 2016; Jortveit, 2014)

PhD-project leader: Felicity Burbridge Rinde

Project period: 2017 – 2021

Members of our research group are giving some advice to the Norwegian Minister of Education

Kari Holdhus and Catharina Christophersen are giving advice to the minister of education in how to strengthen arts education in Norwegian Schools and Kindergartens. In one of the national newspapers, Dagsavisen, they challenge the Norwegian government and minestry of education to prioritize arts education in the same way as they do with subjects like science and maths. Read more here: https://www.dagsavisen.no/nyemeninger/du-trenger-ikke-vente-på-læreplanen-sanner-1.1290096?fbclid=IwAR2vcID-TWDUg8cn23FrNT3Xpyy7XAgA4CGzIPqtkJvT5yKlEJrUZOKssaA

Social justice seminar coming up

The open research group seminar “Social justice, arts education and community arts” is coming up, and Catharina Christophersen and Judy Lewis are offering a few reflections on the topic of social justice in music education.

As the field of social justice has grown, music education scholars have questioned the manner in which social justice is conceptualized, theorized and represented. Social justice is a relational concept that is inseparable from related concepts like democracy, equity and fairness or lack thereof, thus naturally also linking the concept of justice to injustice. Democracy is thus a core value of social justice, and must be conceived of “not as ethos, but as experience” (Gould 2007, p. 238). When perceiving social justice from the perspective of experience, the meaning  will inevitably fluctuate depending on context.

The concept of social justice is fluid, contextual and situated. Social justice “resists generalization; meaning, it doesn’t necessarily ‘travel’ well. One person’s or interest group’s social justice may easily become another’s injustice” (Bowman 2007, p. 4). Naming is therefore essential in any social justice enterprise, since concepts like “justice” and “diversity” are euphemisms that may cover up the real issues at stake in certain situations .  Hence, the mere concept of social justice may camouflage the complexity, diversity, and nuances of social justice. The call for social justice in education rests upon the imperative to recognize and acknowledge injustice, an “imperative to care” (Shieh and Allsup 2012, p. 48), that is to “perceive and act, and not look away” (ibid.) . However well-intended, un-reflected urges to correct injustice and to “do something” may very well end up as charity, tokenism or exoticism disguised as acts of social justice (Bradley 2007). Further, scholars and educators need to critically reflect on their own positionality and their own implicatedness in injust practices. Such criticality and reflexivity are vital both in order to recognize possible and actual manifestations of “othering” as well as provide spaces in which silenced voices could be heard.

About the research group Culture, Criticism, Community

This is the research blog of the research group Culture – Criticism – Community (CCC). The group is an interdisciplinary and international research group that gathers researchers with a critical research interest. The purpose of our research is to raise critical discussion and challenge existing assumptions, ideas and practices within the field, thus ultimately contributing to change. 

Through various empirical and theoretical approaches, our research projects aim to explore arts education, cultural expressions, cultural participation, community arts and arts communities.

Keywords: Culture, criticism, community, context, diversity, participation, equality, justice, and democracy.