02 Aug 2018

ICTM Study Group Meeting „Applied Ethnomusicology“ in Bejing

July 2018

By Dr. Nepomuk Riva

Since the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” entered into force in 2006, the Peoples Republic of China has been very active in applying and registering several cultural practices of different Chinese people groups on the UN list. Therefore, it was the ideal place to hold one of the ICTM Study Group Meetings on Applied Ethnomusicology at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing this summer.

I was lucky to be invited to present the outcomes of the Applied Theater workshop we did during our workshop in Abuja 2017 and to reflect on the students’ theater play that was performed in Ghana 2018. The individual approach of the Ghanaian and Nigerian students to perform sustainability by using Theater for Development and blending it with songs and dances were very much appreciated by the audience. The organizers had hired simultaneous interpreters, so even the Chinese students that attended the conference in great numbers were able to understand what we are doing in our Graduate School.

The conference also offered a good opportunity to meet international facilitators of our workshops again like Svanibor Pettan and get to know new academics that we could invite to our program, like Olivier Urbain from the Min-On Music Research Institute in Japan who has written on “Music and Conflict Transformation” or Dan Bentrups from the La Trobe University in Australia who did present the Applied film “Rama and the worm”, a project for health promotion in Indonesia.

ICTM has the official agenda to hold conferences all over the world, so that even researchers from lower income countries get the possibility to attend them from time to time. The only drawback was that the Cameroonian Pepetual Morbe from the Humboldt-University in Berlin who gave the Applied Theater workshop in Abuja was planned to co-present with me in Beijing. Yet, she did not get a visa from the Chinese embassy for attending the conference. A group from Brazil had a similar problem with one of their Afro-Brazilian colleagues. We hope very much that these visa issues that still block the international exchanges will one day become easier.