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Specialist / Generalist / All Levels

As a young music educator, one of the most inspiring and thought-provoking pieces of advice Gillian received was to ‘pay attention to the space’. Specifically, the social dynamics and the degree of autonomy and agency being experienced by learners. In work contexts such as war-affected cities, refugee camps, and schools with high numbers of displaced people – paying attention to the space was what ensured music was a place of solace and welcome for the young learners.

In this presentation, Gillian will share a trauma-aware approach to creating and cultivating space in music making and music education, and how to ensure the musical spaces we foster as teachers and teaching artists are safe, welcoming and inspiring, as well as great learning spaces. Gillian will share stories from young people in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Australia to illustrate the difference that paying attention to the space – and getting the space right – can make.

Making space for music: The art of cultivating safe and creative space

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Leader: Dr Gillian Howell

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