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PERMANENT SEMINAR OF THE RESEARCH GROUP ON ETHNOMUSICOLOGY AND STUDIES IN POPULAR MUSIC
 
 
2024-05-29 | 3 p.m. | NOVA FCSH, Colégio Almada Negreiros, Campolide (Lisbon) | Room 208 -  Floor 2 | Zoom Room 
 
Free entrance, both online and in presence.
 
 
 
Co-existing in-between, co-operating across: learning/teaching music while seeking asylum
 
Chrysi Kyratsou | University College Dublin, School of Music
 
 
This seminar focuses on learning/teaching music while seeking asylum. Assuming the lens of ‘Communities of Musical Practice,’ it discusses the constant interplay between Possible and Actual underpinning musicking while waiting in legal and existential limbo. It foregrounds the processes that endow learning/teaching music with the potential to facilitate senses and expressions of multiple (non-)belongings.
 
Access to arts and culture, as well as the urgency of enhancing it through arts and cultural education has been increasingly stressed, due to the extensive benefits they entail, and the transformative potential they have for individuals and communities (see UNESCO 2024). The decisive role that music and arts can play in refugees’ everyday lives, as well as the rich insights we can get through focusing on creative practices into what refugeehood actually entails, have also been examined thoroughly (Kyratsou 2023; Murphy and Chatzipanagiotidou 2020; Pistrick 2020; Western 2020). Yet, the insurmountable potential entailed in arts education competes with significant and diverse challenges. It is in the counterpoint between the two, that actual transformation occurs. This seminar focuses on the learning/teaching music as undertaken in the radically diverse contexts of reception centres in Athens, Greece, in the aftermath of the ‘European Refugee Crisis,’ and as massively disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion follows the participants’ narrated experiences, mapped across their (forced) migratory trajectories, and the indeterminate waiting, that being stuck in legal (and existential) limbo involves, as well as their learning/teaching experiences outside the reception centres contexts. What is the value of learning/teaching music when the future remains bleak until further notice? What are the motivations for committing to learning/teaching music? How can Communities of Musical Practice (Kenny 2016) be fostered across all the frictions underpinning participants’ backgrounds, and what are the emergent potentials? Finally, how do Possible and Actual (see Turino 2008) interlace in these musicking contexts, mediating and being mediated by the limbo-induced precarity? Time, Space, the dipole of Peace/War, and the conditionality of ‘sanctuary’ get musicked, when people start experimenting with co-existing in-between, and cooperating across in the matrix of music.
 
 
Photo by Julie Ricard at Unsplash.
 
Chrysi Kyratsou | With a PhD in Anthropology and a background in ethnomusicology and musicology and music education, is a post-doctoral resarcher in the School of Music at University College Dublin, now focused in publishing and carrying out impact and engagement activities. Her current research project advocates active engagement with music among asylum seekers hosted in reception centers in Greece. It considers how musical involvement - listening on one's own/in a group, teaching and learning music, making music in formal or informal contexts - is intertwined with the traumatic experience of displacement, and with the uncertainties and precariousness that the limbo of asylum-seeking induces.