Over the last six years I have worked in music and inclusion as a researcher, practitioner and coordinator. This work has been embedded in a variety of settings: in community music, disability arts, youth work, education, professional arts and academia. I have been involved in the social act of connecting people across differences in disabilities and health statuses, generations, social backgrounds and ethnicities. In each case, an ethos of inclusivity was adopted and every single person’s participation was desired. Some of these activities have been labelled ‘inclusive’ and some not, some have been more successful at bridging across differences between participants and others less so. In each case, musical activity has been used as a resource around which people are brought together, to share in time, space and the act of musicking.
In this article, I bring together a discussion looking at arts and cultural policy (particularly in the UK), music in peacebuilding, social theories of music, music therapy and health perspectives, and disability studies to ask: What does inclusion mean? How is it achieved and measured? Can attempts at inclusion serve to reinforce exclusionary identities? What role can music play in inclusion? And, what radical new imaginings of more inclusive societies are possible through musicking?
Copyright (c) 2020 Koichi Samuels
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