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News & Topics
June 20, 2018

Social Impact of Making Music (SIMM) Porto 2018

by Craig Robertson

The third SIMM-posium Porto 2018 (May 19-20) brought together researchers, practitioners interested in research, and policymakers concerned with social welfare, to build and strengthen a network of professionals wishing to deepen rigorous and evidence-based understanding of how active participatory music-making may be used to bring social benefits to groups of individuals in diverse contexts and situations. This network is one strand of activity of the recently formed International Centre for Social Impact of Making Music, founded at the University of Ghent, Belgium, but now operating as an independent scholarly association intended to involve institutional partners in various countries, which will support a programme of collaborative research training and development under the guidance of international experts in the field.

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This is the third time that MOMRI was represented at SIMM, Olivier Urbain attended the very first one in Ghent two years ago, Craig Robertson attended last year’s in London, and Craig presented this year. Craig’s trip was generously funded by MOMRI and was also supported by Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, further connecting music therapy and wellbeing to peacebuilding research. SIMM continues to be a vibrant and stimulating environment in which major thinkers about music and society gather and exchange ideas. It was particularly useful for gaining new interest in the special edition of Music and the Arts in Action (MAiA) that MOMRI is currently editing. There now seems to be enough support for the project to develop a follow up edition.


Topics covered included cultural democracy, inequalities and access to music-making and learning; social impact of music-making; music and peacebuilding and conflict; context and culture; music education; and music in prisons. There were presenters from around Europe, North America and South America. Highlights included Eric Clarke’s (University of Oxford) provocation about the social affordances of music and Jenny Henley (Royal College of Music) who made a very strong challenge to the assumptions of the transformative power of music. Columbia was well-represented by three presentations in the peacebuilding panel along with Craig. Gloria Patricia Zapata Restrepo, from the Fundacion Universitaria Juan N Corpas in Bogota, spoke about musical identities of ex combatants during the protracted conflict in Colombia, which had a number of overlaps with Craig’s presentation on identity in peacebuilding. Gloria will be organising SIMM 4 in Bogota in July 2019, and MOMRI has already been invited to participate.



Craig with Gloria Patricia Zapata Restrepo (Bogota), Andrea Rodriguez (Castellon) and Alberto Cabedo Mas (Castellon).