The International Seminar of Music and Social Transformation was held at the Luis Ángel Arango’s Library in Bogotá over three days.

The aim of this seminar was to demonstrate that music is a key tool for social transformation, that it does not discriminate human beings; we are all people with a passion for music, regardless of our religion, sexual orientation, beliefs or language.

The UK was represented by Streetwise Opera, Music in Prisons, Buskaid, Beyond Skin, Drake Music and Paraorchestra); two keynote speakers (PhD Keith Swanwick and PhD Craig Robertson); two panel moderators (Cathy Graham and David Codling) and two workshops were provided (Worldvoice and Leadership in the arts).
There has never been a meeting of this kind in Colombia, and our goal was to encourage the public, private and academic sectors to consider the importance of music in social transformation and peace building.

The seminar was available for all Colombians and wider audiences through streaming.

The most remarkable outcome of the Seminar was the “Puentes” (Bridges) Project. A very strong link was established between many of the organizations that participated in the conference, which resulted in multiple collaborations. Therefore, “Puentes” was created to group and monitor the bilateral projects that are now taking place.

So far, the following “Puentes” (Bridges) collaborations have been achieved:

  • Streetwise Opera is working with the Secretary of Culture of Bogota to develop a joint project for homeless people.
  • Music in Prisons will co-design with IDARTES an arts program for prisoners in Bogotá, in order to improve the prisoner’s reintegration and re-socialization.
  • Paraorchestra is having conversations with the Bogotá City Hall to develop a program for Disabled People in the city.
  • Beyond Skin has invited two members of Escuelas de Paz to attend the Global Youth Peace Summit which will take place in March 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • Katherine Zeserson from Sage Gateshead will be leading a workshop of Leadership of Arts Programs in Buenaventura, Colombia, in a joint program of the British Council Colombia and Batuta Foundation.
  • The British Council’s WorldVoice program will continue in Colombia with its 20 master trainers that will deliver the first cascading pilot project in different regions of Colombia.
  • Escuela Lucho Bermudez and Afghanistan National Institute of Music will work together to create/establish a joint initiative addressing victims of conflict in Afghanistan and Colombia through music.
  • The Cantadoras del Pacífico Sur from Colombia and Rwanda’s Ingoma Nshya are planning to create an exchange program to bring their members to each country in order to share best practices and experiences. 

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