Sound Links Recommendations: Local Government
One of the recommendations of the discussion at our 2012 MCA Assembly was to reconsider the recommendations made by Sound Links.
This piece of research was the catalyst for establishing the Music in Communities Network; we are its major recommendation. There are many other recommendations, some of which form our ongoing agenda.
Sound Links produced a framework for community music which continues to be useful for our activities. The domains are: Infrastructure, Organisation, Visibility/PR, Relationship to Place, Social engagement, Support/networking, Dynamic music making, Engaging pedagogy/facilitation, and Links to school.
The following relate specifically to Local Government, and are categorised by the relevant domains.
Councils need to be encouraged to make available spaces people can access, so activities can be self-generated, rather than topdown organised. Disused spaces can be refurbished as community music centres through renovation programs and this in turn can render community activities more visible and effective in creating a sense of community.
Visibility and Public Relations
External relations, in particular visibility, are not a luxury for community music activities, but often a great need. They create goodwill and can attract support in cash and kind, as well as participants. Publicly honouring high achievers (Community musician of the year) or proactive supporters (Musical Mayors) can contribute to such aims.
In positioning cultural activities in specific councils and communities, it is worth engaging in ‘cultural mapping,’ which entails creating a geographical representation of all relevant cultural organisations, activities and needs in a specific area. This subsequently informs choice of activities, strategic positioning, recruitment, partnerships, and fundraising. Internationally, this is an activity that has proved highly successful.
Relationship to Place
Local councils need to be made aware of the benefits of community music in connecting groups with different or even conflicting ideas and cultural backgrounds. Internationally, this approach has proved successful even in war zones, so applying the same principle in challenging social situations in Australia makes excellent sense.
Support and Networking
Most successful community music projects rely heavily on successful networking and support structures. Different levels of government can provide a number of facilities and services, as can schools and other public organisations, often to their own benefit.