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Thread: Music organizations and city planning?

  1. #1
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    Music organizations and city planning?

    Hi all,

    I'm a masters student with a background in music, looking to do my thesis on music organizations and their contributions to planning/community health/social cohesion.

    I'm looking for music organizations anywhere that fit the bill (have a mandate that could be considered related to city planning, etc). If you know of any, I'd love to hear about them!!

    Thanks so much.
    Barb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I lived and worked in Uganda for a while with a dance and music company employing something called "development theatre." Essentially, they fuse elements of traditional dance and music with theater to explore social issues (women's rights, corruption, public health issues, etc.) Sometimes they perform these plays for an urban public and sometimes they work directly with a community slated for work with a development agency (government, local or international). In these scenarios, they will work with that community to write their won play that is an expression of their hopes, anxieties, concerns, disagreements, etc. on a particular topic and this becomes the basis of community discussions about creating plans. As I mentioned, these plays rely heavily on traditional dance and music forms. For lack of a better term, they are musical theater productions.

    You can read about their work here: http://www.ndere.com/

    In the US, I am not that familiar with music being used in this sense. I do know that the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater used to have a program in various US cities working directly with low income youth and I am sure there are similar programs out of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the like. I think many of these take the "personal empowerment" route to community development.

    Another angle is the idea that a city building a music center can stimulate jobs and vibrancy to a failing downtown. I'm not sure if this argument holds water or not (especially when it is an expensive project), but its a popular idea out there.

    My own work employs art in general as a tool for social engagement, exploring social issues, beautifying the public realm through community projects, and so on. Music (though it is my own medium) is not often a central part of this, however. Still, it plays a role. We have, for example, an annual community network-building parade and fiesta each year that involves a lot of music and performance in general.

    That's all I got...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
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    Stockton, CA example

    Hi...


    You might want to check out www.withourwords.org, a literary and performing arts non-profit in Stockton, CA. Most recently, there has been a lot of buzz around the growing spoken word/poetry slam movement. They create positive outlets for youth and others to highlight and reflect on issues affecting them and their community to promote change. You can check out a story about it at,
    http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.d.../A_ENTERTAIN04

    This past summer they gained national and international recognition when they competed in a poetry slam contest in Washington D.C., called Brave New Voices, put on by another organization, "Youth Speaks," which also might be of interest to you. Sounds like a recipe for social change? Some more info about the event...

    "HBO Films, the Sundance Channel, Robert Redford? Now add Washington, D.C., the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Museum, Howard University and over 450 young people from across the country and across the Atlantic. It's the 11th Annual Brave New Voices International Slam Poetry Festival.

    As a team and as individuals, they will be taking part in writing and performance workshops, open mics and competitions along with poets from the other 44 cities attending Brave New Voices. They'll learn from national slam champions and HBO Def Poets, network with young writers from Chicago, London, Trinidad. There will be readings at the White House."

    Good luck and I hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I should probably link you also to our organization. Not everything we do is related to community development (though a great deal is centered on personal, professional or community development for both artists specifically and the community in general).

    http://harwoodartcenter.org/ss
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #5
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    Thanks - this is a great help!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    If you're still looking for info, you might check out Stax Records in Memphis. Stax and the city worked together to rebuild the Stax studio and the blighted neighborhood around it.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Macomb, Illinois, hosts the Al Sears Jazz Festival downtown in Chandler Park on an annual basis, Google it and see what comes up, or google City of Macomb, IL, and check the city's website, contact the CVB in town as well and talk with them. Muskegon, Michigan, hosts Muskegon Summer Celebration every summer as well and you will definitely find information from Google on that, Muskegon is a town of about 50,000 so its not like a major huge festival but over 15 days it draws about 500,000 people they estimate...

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