This post originally appeared on the Transcend: Art and Peace Network (T:AP)

Welcome to Week #6 of our seven-week series on music for peace. Since mid-December, we have explored the theme of music for peace through examples of the northern Ugandan initiative, Music for Peace (MfP). Below is a summary of our past discussions and key lessons learnt:

  • In week one, we introduced MfP and ourselves, highlighting our different work and contributions in the field of music and peacebuilding.
  • In week two, we explored the sub-theme of music as dialogue through the example of “Dwog Paco (Come back Home),” a song promoting amnesty, by MfP founding member Jahria Okwera. T:AP members contributed to the discussion by sharing examples of music initiating dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians and exploring the value music adds by evoking “ emotions, memories, feelings and movement.”
  • In week three, we explored the sub-theme of music as memory through the example of MfP’s ongoing efforts to document conflict-related songs in northern Uganda and to understand the community’s perceptions of the music. T:AP members contributed to the discussion by sharing examples from the Northern Ireland context, including information on the Orange Walk in Belfast and street murals.
  • In week four, we explored the sub-theme of music as solidarity through the example of MfP’s exchange and collaboration with musicians in Sierra Leone. T:AP members contributed to the discussion by sharing the resource Music and Solidarity published by the Toda Institute and the example of El Sistema, a Venezuelan orchestra and choir that has fostered a spirit of solidarity and fraternity among young people.
  • In week five, we explored the sub-theme of music as advocacy through the example of MfP’s upcoming project to develop songs on justice and reconciliation with victims’ groups. This was our most discussed topic yet, and T:AP members contributed to the discussion by  sharing insights about the qualities of music that make it well suited for advocacy, and emphasizing the difference between effective advocacy and actually causing change. Members shared links to similar programmes, such as Music for Change and Rafiki Theatre.

This week we will discuss how all of these culminate to foster music as transformation. Within John Paul Lederach’s framework for conflict transformation, music may create change in a society or conflict at different levels: individual, relational, structural and/or cultural. In other words, it may change an individual’s attitudes and actions at a person level, it may change relationships between people, it may change systems or structures that guide how a society operates, and it may change overarching cultures and traditions. MfP’s research on music and transformation has suggested that music has influenced transformation to some extent at all levels in northern Uganda.

You are invited to visit http://www.mfpuganda.org/2014/01/community-views-on-music-and-conflict-transformation/ to learn more about MfP’s discussions with community members on music and conflict transformation, and read our preliminary analysis. Please consider responding to the following questions before next Friday, the final day of this series:

  1. What level do you think music is best situated to transform?
  2. How can music and other peacebuilding efforts ‘build up’ to influence lasting transformation of larger conflict systems?
  3. What other reflections would you like to share pertaining to this week’s theme on key lessons learnt and music as transformation?

Further Reading: When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation by John Paul Lederach and Angela Jill Lederach, http://kroc.nd.edu/research/books/strategic-peacebuilding/285

In peace,


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