The Institute of Cultural Capital (ICC) has received a research network grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which will enable the institute to bring together an international community of cross-disciplinary researchers to consider the cultural value of the orchestra as a community intervention. Network activities will centre on the In Harmony Liverpool programme, led by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema initiative, In Harmony Liverpool uses the symphony orchestra as a means of engaging young children (aged 4 years upwards) in music education and performance, adopting the Sistema philosophy of working with children from the most deprived parts of the country.
The commissioned evaluation of In Harmony Liverpool (2009-2012) consistently infers positive impacts upon participating school children, families and the community as a whole, including indicators such as educational attainment, community wellbeing, social capital and civic engagement. The network will explore these findings in greater depth, considering the causal relationships between early years musical interventions and their realistic social and economic legacies, including factors such as the pedagogical characteristics of music education and their impact; cultural capital in the community; and longer-term socio-economic implications. Following the national charity In Harmony Sistema England’s recent commitment to four new regional projects, the network provides a timely opportunity to bring together an international community of interest, creating a hub for knowledge exchange and research development for the Sistema phenomenon.
ICC Chairman Professor Phil Redmond commented: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on this important project, bringing attention and critical focus to what is being accomplished in West Everton with the In Harmony Liverpool programme. The ICC is committed to putting the Liverpool city region at the forefront of the cultural value debate – In Harmony Liverpool and associated El Sistema initiatives have a significant contribution to make to this agenda and we look forward to leading the network”.
The network will be led by LJMU’s Kerry Wilson (Principal Investigator), Head of Research at the ICC and Jude Robinson (Co-investigator), Reader in the Anthropology of Health and Illness at the University of Liverpool. Contact Kerry@iccliverpool.ac.uk for more information.
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