I am very happy to share with you all my recent publication within the just released book Critical Articulations of Hope from the Margins of Arts Education: International Perspectives and Practices, 1st Edition. My contribution is the chapter, “Dialogical musical spaces: Raising youth critical consciousness in equalizing intergroup settings.”
I put a lot of heart and soul into every word and idea. The chapter is about the time I worked with Heartbeat, and what I discovered (via an educational lens) through the work alongside many wonderful, resilient, and passionate Palestinian and Israeli youth musicians, who are, as Maxine Greene says, reading their world… who are becoming. I try to show within this context the relationships between encounter dialogue and music education, peacebuilding/human rights education and anti-oppressive pedagogies, the personal and the political, group/intergroup dynamics and power dynamics, socialization and education, self-expression and group-expression, youth voices and educational structure, musicking and songwriting, and so forth. I try to examine what works, what hasn’t worked, and what isn’t good enough to consider critical work in education, unfortunately also existent within this context and field. I try to show that the presence of genuine love, care, and solidarity cannot be based upon simple philosophies, but rather through understanding the complexities present, and the need for questioning and critical thinking as a lens through which to look at the world.
“Upon reflecting on their song in a dialogue session, some in the ensemble interpret that hope exists – that one day things will change. Others understand the song speaking to remorse and suspicion because of the lack of change, questioning whether change will ever arrive. The lyrics can be read both ways, like how Haifa is Israel and Haifa is Palestine or perhaps East Jerusalem is Palestine and West Jerusalem is Israel. The multiple interpretations of the song, which are also mirrored musically, can be viewed as a reflection of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself. The longer I am a practitioner in this field, I wonder daily as I work alongside Palestinian and Israeli youth musicians: How can we recognize each other’s aspirations and pain equally in the same place? How can we learn to question our histories and current realities in the same musical line? How can we struggle for existence, coexistence, and co-resistance in small and large ways of our choice? I have come to believe we can ground the rights of Palestinians and Israelis in the same educational space through a process of uncovering and revealing marginalized narratives, power dynamics, and the telling and witnessing of intergroup oppression complexities (Gottesman & Sappir, 2017). Even as the conflict, occupation, and systemic violence continue to see another day, maybe we can continue by enabling a multiplicity of possibilities through self-reflexivity and the co-creation of realities, existences, and authoring with always further questions, challenges, and possibilities.” (Gottesman, from Critical Articulations of Hope from the Margins of Arts Education: International Perspectives and Practices, 1st Edition)
This chapter was written while on a journey within a certain place and time… and I expect realizations, thoughts, and understandings to change, renew, and regenerate. After all, I hope I will always continue to learn and grow alongside my students, colleagues, institutions, teachers, stranger, and mentors.
With gratitude and appreciation,
P.S. If you would like a copy, email me and I will gladly share it with you!