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The Senator George J.Mitchell Institute
for Global Peace, Security and Justice

Politics of Performance

'The Politics of Performance' A Level 3 Anthropology and Ethnomusicology Module

Anthropology students share creative pieces and critical reflections on the 'Politics of Performance' module and workshops

This introductory piece is a result of the final collaboration of 7 weeks of work between QUB students and a collaboration between Beyond Skin facilitator Raphael Frank. At the end of the workshops, the students collaborated with rap producer Raphael Frank to create 'Peace Music'  with Yanze Zhu, guitar; Emir Holohan, piano; Annabel Fry, vocals and Raphael Frank drums and music production. 

In this section, we share the detailed work of four students on the Queen's Anthropology module, the 'Politics of Performance' (ESA3002) as they understood the effects of the pracititioners working in collaboration with Beyond Skin. The module asks, how do we come to positions of performative knowledge and what types of political effect do different knowledges have? It brings to the fore ways in which music, dance and the arts are tools of conflict transformation and peacebuilding, as they variously give rise to cultural expressions of resistance, resilience and resourcefulness.

Students learnt about performative politics across four broadly interlinked areas i). protest and empowerment; ii). socially engaged arts practices, foregrounding identity claims that impact upon policy agendas; iii). sonic and political imaginaries of creativity; and iv). the arts as a space of engagement for healing and reconciliation.

Based around a series of practical workshops, each week offered students a unique opportunity to hear from arts practitioners dealing with different approaches to the arts in relation to violence, trauma and healing in specific regions around the globe. The workshops were organised in conjunction with Darren Ferguson, Beyond Skin and attended by staff, Dr. Olivier Urbain and students from Soka University, Japan, who engaged with students from QUB.

As part of the assessed work, students produced a creative piece and a critical reflection upon some of the workshops. Across seven weeks, students learned about Music and Mindfulness (Mark Smulian), Music and Power in Colombia (Edwar Calderon), Marching Bands and Mental Health in Northern Ireland (Glen Millar), Malian Music in Exile (Andy Morgan), Black Youth Music: Grime, Drill and Trap (Raphael Frank), Afghan Orchestra (Janielle Beh) and Music Therapy (Janelle Junkin).

The creative elements of the module highlight students’ voices by profiling their work which relates to the agenda of the Sounding Conflict project. The creative work and reflections of four QUB students are showcased here: 

Fuel on Fire or Power to the People - Sarah Fox

Music and Mindfulness - Annabel Fry 

Inner Peace, Music and Mindfulness - Emir Holohan 

Musical Interactions between Perfomances and Audiences - Yanze Zhu 

 

 

 

 

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