After a successful pilot project in the summer of 2016, Music in the Community at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) is returning to Greece to engage refugee children in music-making and song.

The collaboration with the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens sees composer and lecturer, Dee Isaacs, work with parents, students from both universities, and traditional musicians to provide daily singing workshops for the children in Elliniko Camp.

Based on Music in the Community’s work with Leith Walk Primary School in Edinburgh, Postcards from Our World, the project will involve learning traditional songs from countries including Greece, Scotland, Syria, The Balkans, Somalia and Afghanistan.

The week will culminate in a concert; a celebration of music, community and shared understanding.

The benefits of Music in the Community

Music in the Community emerges at an influential meeting point between performing arts outreach, community development, creative arts therapies, and conflict resolution.

Dee Isaacs, who leads the Music in the Community course at ECA (and is Programme Director of our BMus - Hons programme), has produced many events involving marginalised communities and has trained psychologists to work with deeply traumatised children using music and the creative arts.

The pilot project, involving a performance of The Tin Forest, revealed the extreme challenges faced by an ever-changing community of refugees from different cultures thrown together and the effect that this is having on the children, who were hyperactive, traumatised and lacking in concentration.

Working work carefully and sensitively with the children, the musicians witnessed how much they enjoyed singing and how music-making may help them achieve a sense of calm and relief.

Other projects focusing on refugees and social inclusion

Dr Penny Travlou, a cultural geographer based in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, is currently involved in Options FoodLab, a food-related social enterprise in Athens where she looks at refugees' integration in Greece.

Elsewhere in Europe, ECA has been involved in a project in Zotzenheim, Germany, helping refugees develop their language skills and settle into their new community.

Last summer, a History of Art - MA student joined a group of volunteers from the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures on the project, and now a wider pool of ECA students have helped the group create an exhibition of photography, installations, animation and design, placing the project in the wider context of mass migration and the experiences of refugees.

The exhibition opened on 2nd March and runs until 26th May 2017 in Room 1.06, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, 50 George Square, Edinburgh.

Are you interesting in studying Music in the Community at ECA?

The course is open to all students on our Music - BMus (Hons) and Music - MA (Hons) programmes. We also offer a ‘Introduction to Community Arts Practice: modes, methods and meanings’ course, which is open to students on postgraduate programmes across ECA and the wider University of Edinburgh.