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Music Making, The Arts and Society

Why should I take this Trinity Elective?

This module offers you the opportunity to consider the ways in which the arts, and specifically music, can play a part in relation to the challenges we face in contemporary society, including climate change, mass migration, civil unrest, social exclusion, and navigating power relations. You will explore ways in which citizens can engage in the arts to engender social change. You will question whether artists have an obligation to serve communities and how they might do this. You will be guided from engagement with theoretical concepts, multidisciplinary literature, and real-world examples (in the lectures), through action, creation and communication (the in-person music creation sessions and the group assignment), to reflection (the individual assignment).

What will I learn?

You will develop an ability to:
  • articulate a range of perspectives on the participation of citizens in the arts and on the place of the arts and artists in society;
  • describe and critique a range of international music initiatives that address complex societal issues;
  • communicate and collaborate effectively in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • develop and apply skills and frameworks to demonstrate the possibilities for music in addressing social issues.

What will I do?

Attend a series of in-person lectures by faculty members of the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the School of Education, and international guests who work in the area of music and social impact. The lectures will explore the role of the arts in relation to issues such as conflict transformation, incarceration and rehabilitation, community partnerships, urban policy and creative cities, environmental consciousness, and healthcare.

Take part in four music creation sessions. Students are not required to have any previous experiences of music-making and an ability to read western music notation is not required. Students participate by sharing ideas and sounds. The music sessions are underpinned by the belief that music is for everyone, and that playing music should be enjoyable. There will also be time to reflect on the creative activities and draw connections between the theoretical learning and the practical experiences.

The online group tutorials provide an incremental scaffold towards the group assignment in which students create a problem statement and design a music initiative in response to the problem. The initiative will undergo iterations as you work through guided activities to support them in defining strategies and approaches for impact, a theory of change, and an impact evaluation mechanism.

How will this be delivered?

  • 15 hours of lectures
  • 4 hours of music creation sessions
  • 7 hours of guided assessment preparation workshops
  • 33 hours of independent study/advanced reading
  • 25 hours of group assessment preparation
  • 16 hours of individual assessment preparation

How will this be assessed?

There are two assessment components: a Group Project (40%) and an Individual Assignment (60%)

Group Project You will identify a particular social issue in a specific context and design a music-inspired initiative intended to engender social change (you are not required to implement this initiative). The group will create a 10-minute recorded commentary/creative response designed to share their initiative with the rest of the class, and each member will submit a personal reflection on their experiences of planning and designing the initiative.

Individual Assignment You will write a short reflection (1000 words) on the role of the arts in society.

Who can take this Trinity Elective?

All Trinity students are invited to take part in this elective. No previous music education, training or experiences are required to take part fully in this module

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