Understanding the role of music and sound in conflict transformation: The Mozambique Case Study

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Creative Arts

Abstract

Music making is known to have benefits for social cohesion. As a social practice, music depends on personal interaction, dialogue, agreement on conventions and trust. Previous work on music and conflict has highlighted the transformative power of music and demonstrated that activity in this area has a direct impact on conflict resolution, peacebuilding and reconciliation. This research is conducted with the Mahamba group in Maputo, Mozambique towards a case study that evaluates existing practices while introducing new strategies from the sonic arts to expand these practices and produce a new participatory radiophonic piece which reflects relationships between sound and conflict.
This project employs multiple methodologies to address three research phases which focus on the effectiveness of participatory music making, training of community leaders in sonic arts methods and strategies in order to expand their practice and finally the co-creation of a one-hour participatory sound piece for radio which employs field recordings and interviews to reflect personal stories and narratives of conflict embedded in the everyday. By combining methods and approaches from social sciences, arts and humanities we aim to address the arts in a society marked by conflict from multiple perspectives. A recognition of the complexities of the role of the arts, and more specifically sound and music has led to the development of a research programme which is highly participatory and with direct impact to those involved.
The project aims to make a contribution to conflict resolution and peace building in Mozambique. This contribution is focused on the opportunities offered by art provision (specifically music and sonic arts) in societies destroyed by conflict. The project's activities are aimed to identify and promote good practices which can make a contribution to welfare.
The project partners are the Eduardo Modlane University, and the Mahamba group in Maputo, Mozambique. Mahamba is a music and theatre group founded in 1995 in Maputo and has 6 core members and with regular project activity. They produce shows in Portuguese, English and Tsonga and have regular cultural production in Mozambique and abroad (e.g. South Africa, Denmark, Brasil). Mahamba runs regular training programmes in association with international NGOs and local schools, and are heavily involved in civic education and social action.

Planned Impact

This research has been designed to have a direct, immediate impact for the partner organization, the Mahamba group in Maputo. This impact begins with a critical observation of current practices in the use of sound and music in conflict zones which aim to promote welfare, reconciliation and peacebuilding.
The proposed training programme will focus on sharing sonic arts techniques and strategies with members of the Mahamba group. This will have a direct impact in expanding the already effective ways in which music is a trigger for social change and community cohesion. The sonic arts techniques will broaden an understanding of sound to include the everyday (environment, man-made sounds, spoken word...) and introduce field recording as a way of capturing one's own environment. The impact of expanding an understanding of music through training will be immediately evident in the co-created sonic arts piece. The piece will be based on specific local experiences reflecting the Mozambique reality as construed by the group of participants.

To ensure that impact is long lasting and that the material delivered during the training is useful 'on the ground', sound recording and editing kits will be made available to the Mahamba group for use in future projects. The Eduardo Mondlane University has already expressed an interest in using the project as a platform for reaching out to other communities and work together towards wider regional impact. The project website will serve as a vehicle to showcase how these practices evolve.

Publications

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Title Behind a Performance: O Tufo da Mafalala (2018) 
Description Behind a performance: Tufo of Mafalala is an invitation to enter into the backstage of an expressive practice strongly linked to the past, present and future of Mafalala's neighbourhood in Maputo, Mozambique. This traditional Mozambican dance of Arabic origins is practiced by a group of Makhuwa women that came to this neighbourhood from the north-eastern province of Nampula. The dance has its unique practices and rituals that usually go unnoticed in the eyes of the audience involving the make-up, the selection of capulanas (traditional dress), the composition of the music and the lyrics. These elements inscribe tufo as a space of sociability and intimacy, generating women's dreams and reflecting a history of conflict that unfolds in the artistic expression of the dance. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The film shares knowledge generated through participatory and practice based research with the group Tufo da Mafalala. The film format deriving from the previous collaborative performance and installation provides an easier to disseminate output. Screenings include Socio Sonic Symposium, City University London 2018, Jardins Efémeros Portugal 2018. 
URL http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Research/Arts/ResearchImpact/Mozambique/OutputandImpact/
 
Title Por Trás de Uma Performance: O Tufo da Mafalala 
Description Por trás de uma performance: O Tufo da Mafalala (Behind a performance: Tufo of Mafalala) is an invitation to enter into the backstage of an expressive practice strongly linked to the past, present and future of Mafalala's neighbourhood in Maputo, Mozambique. This traditional Mozambican dance of Arabic origins is practiced by a group of Makhuwa women that came to this neighbourhood from the the north-eastern province of Nampula. The dance has its unique practices and rituals that usually go unnoticed in the eyes of the audience involving the make-up, the selection of capulanas (traditional dress), the composition of the music and the lyrics. These elements inscribe tufo as a space of sociability and intimacy, generating women's dreams and reflecting a history of conflict that unfolds in the artistic expression of the dance. Por trás de uma performance: O Tufo da Mafala results from the collaboration between the Grupo de Tufo da Mafalala, the Associação IVERCA and researchers in the field of sonic arts and ethnography from Queen's University Belfast. Through collaborative research that consists of interviews, field recordings, video and photography, this performance presents the personal stories of these women and deconstructs the various rituals that this practice involves. By articulating different forms of knowledge (traditional, scientific, artistic), Por trás de uma performance aims at producing (an)other knowledge of tufo that transcends writing. Thus, it embraces the group's initial ambition: to expand its own practice in order to break with tradition and move forward to the future. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Collaborative performance presented at Mafalala Festival, Maputo in November 2017. 
URL http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Research/Arts/ResearchImpact/Mozambique/OutputandImpact/
 
Title Por trás de uma performance: O Tudo da Mafalala 
Description 2 HD Video Projections (35 minutes), four audio channels, straw mats, bricks Installation by Pedro Rebelo, Matilde Meireles e Iñigo Sánchez Fuarros with the participation of the Grupo de Tufo da Mafalala 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Exhibited at Instituto Camões, Centro Cultural Português, Maputo, Mozambique (22nd February - 30th March 2018). Media coverage includes Notícias newspaper, Maputo, interviews with TV Mozambique, SIC Portugal and RTP Africa. 
URL http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Research/Arts/ResearchImpact/Mozambique/OutputandImpact/
 
Description The research revealed how the practice of Tufo in the neighbourhood of Mafalala in Maputo contributes to group empowerment and ways of dealing with conflict narratives. The groups is made of 15-20 women, dislocated from the north of the country to Mafalala during the civil war. The Tufo practice serves as a way of creating a cultural space as well as social commentary which reflects the contemporary condition.
Exploitation Route The exhibition developed within the project represents an alternative way of telling the story of the group Tufo da Mafalala and its struggle. It serves as a way of disseminating the practice and the narrative.
Sectors Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Research/Arts/ResearchImpact/Mozambique/OutputandImpact/
 
Description The research has through practice-based outputs including a collaborative performance and an installation, made a contribution to presenting the work of the group Tufo da Mafalala in an international context. By addressing their artistic practice together with their own narratives of conflict we have articulated how the arts are a central and positive force in establishing identity and sense of belonging.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Global Challenges Research Fund
Amount £28,984 (GBP)
Organisation Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Description Sounds of Tourism
Amount € 232,000 (EUR)
Funding ID Portuguese Research Council (FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia) through a SR&TD Project Grant (PTDC/ART-PER/32417/2017). 
Organisation New University of Lisbon 
Sector Academic/University
Country Portugal
Start 01/2019 
End 01/2022
 
Description Keynote Address at ANPPOM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote Address at ANPPOM
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Audio visual training programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact During August 2017, the project team travelled to Maputo to initiate fieldwork and develop the first stage of the training process through workshops with the project partners IVERCA. The training sessions introduced sound arts and ethnographic techniques to the participants, exploring their practical usage to capture the neighborhood's intangible heritage and oral history.

In parallel to the workshops, the team also engaged in specific fieldwork activity related to documenting Mafalala's sound environment and compiling oral history of some of the neighborhood inhabitants that were relocated to Mafalala due to the armed conflict. The interview process led us to Saquia Rachide, the leader of a local Tufo traditional singing and dance group (and also one of the workshop participants). The interview gave us a deeper understanding of Tufo and its role as social critique and reflection in particular in conflict situations. As a result, we initiated a collaboration with the Tufo group which resulted in the preparation of a participatory audio-visual performance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Research/Arts/ResearchImpact/Mozambique/OutputandImpact/
 
Description Dance, Drama and Art in Conflict Transformation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As a result of a successful application for further funding for a separate project, Magowan, Rebelo and QUB academics from Geography, Cognition and the Mitchell Institute, together with a South African artist undertook a week of workshops with Machaka dance company on dance, empathy and the arts in conflict transformation in Mozambique 5-14 February 2018. These workshops resulted in a public performance in the main town square in Xipamanine with a rapper, singer, artist and a dance company. A short film and photographic artwork have also been produced.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote ISEA2017: Sounding Conflict: Aural Experiences in the Everyday 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International Symposium for Electronic Arts Keynote address (audience c. 300)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.isea2017.disenovisual.com/
 
Description SPARC Symposium 2018 - Socio-Sonic, City University of London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Academic Symposium with 40 attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018