Reciprocal Integration in a Musical Thirdspace
An ethnographic study with refugee musicians and higher music education students
This doctoral dissertation addresses the need for European societies, and therefore higher music education to develop responses to the challenges of living with difference as recent political instabilities and conflicts around the world have drastically increased migration, including forced displacement. The dissertation examines the potential for higher music education to enable reciprocal integration through creating musical spaces involving musicians with a refugee or immigrant background and higher music education students and teachers, enhancing the participation of refugees in the receiving society. The research task was realized through an open-access music ensemble called World In Motion (WIM) instigated and led by the researcher. The empirical material of the inquiry was generated over a period of eighteen months, during which time participants from different parts of the Middle East and Europe, students from the Sibelius Academy (SibA), and the researcher composed and arranged music collaboratively. The inquiry highlights that socially engaged, intercultural collaboration requires restructuring familiar patterns of teaching and learning in higher music education, challenging musicians and educators to engage with the unfamiliar, and even embrace uncomfortable issues, such as global and local political tensions. The dissertation argues, that by creating musical thirdspaces through social innovations higher music education can prepare future musicians and educators to navigate the intersections of artistic, educational, and social dimensions of music and music education, reimagining socially responsible artistic practices.