Music Australia News

UK Based Arts Project to Break Cultural Barriers Through Music

Cara Anderson
| April 10, 2018

An initiative out of the UK’s Surrey Music Hub has launched a new project bringing together professionals and community groups who work with or have an interest in supporting newly arrived and vulnerable young people through the arts and music.

‘I Speak Music’ was recently awarded a prestigious Youth Music grant to work specifically with young people who have recently arrived in Surrey from areas of conflict and diverse cultural backgrounds. Using the medium of music, the project aims to develop musical, English language and other life skills as well as providing a safe and creative space for participants to make new friends and settle into their new lives.

Between April and December, a team of professional musicians and supporters will work with young asylum seekers, refugees and victims of trafficking to deliver a series of songwriting and music workshops culminating in a celebration concert in December. Specifically and longer term, the project hopes that the young people who take part will be inspired to progress onto other Surrey Arts ensembles and groups, meaning that they continue to develop what they have learned after the project ends.

Head of Surrey Arts, Philip Trumble, said: “Surrey Arts is delighted to have been awarded this grant from the National Foundation for Youth Music. The funding provides a unique opportunity for us to support the current and future work of local refugee and other support agencies through the power of music.”

An anticipated outcome of the ‘I Speak Music’ program is that participants will significantly grow in self-confidence as well as improve their musical skills. Project Coordinator, Mona Saad, said  “When, like for most of these young people, everything in their new environment is strange and such a challenge, it is comforting and energising to make music with others, overcoming language and cultural barriers.”

Surrey Music Tutor, Sara Khoroosi, said: “As a British woman of Iranian descent, it is an honour to be able to help young people of a similar cultural background to myself through this amazing project. I commend Surrey Music Hub for its groundbreaking efforts to create projects that reflect local diversity and cater to the individual needs of the county’s young people.”

You might recall earlier this year Music Australia covered a new Melbourne based program Music With Mates helps young, new migrants in Melbourne adjust to their new home. Harnessing music as an often under-utilised, yet powerful tool in making that transition easier, helping young migrants form new bonds upon arriving in Australia.

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