Posted on: 31st January, 2014
19th October, 2020
Displaced Voices (2019) was an Arts Council-funded participatory music-making project that employed innovative orchestral practice to give voice to refugee communities, raise awareness of the issues they face, and support their integration into society. This was achieved through two strands:
1. Four child refugees from Oxford Spires Academy took part in workshops to co-write orchestral ‘backing tracks’ to underscore performances of their own poetry. These collaborative pieces were performed in concert by professional musicians from the Orchestra of St John’s.
2. Three internationally recognised composers were commissioned to set the young refugees’ words, facilitating cross-cultural collaboration whilst developing professional artistic opportunities.
By empowering the participants to become co-producers of quality cultural works – through the breaking down of cultural barriers between orchestral music-making and their own creative practices – they reported feeling empowered to voice their ideas and emotions in public. In addition, their friends and families (non-traditional audiences) gained a considerable insight into orchestral performance, whilst the wider audience reported developing a greater ability to empathise with the refugees’ experiences.
In this Research Works event Dr Toby Young and Dr Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey will share the findings and challenges of the project, and consider how it could be expanded to reach other communities. They will be joined by one of the young refugees to reflect on their experience as a participant, offering a valuable opportunity to engage with a unique young artist and unpack their first experience of orchestral music-making.