This unique programme has been designed for students wishing to combine an interest in music and related cultural performance with advocacy and social development practice. Students will build critical understanding of how music's agentive and imaginative capacities act in different contexts - e.g. human rights, forced migration, health, and environmental justice - to communicate needs and interests, and to mobilize action.
Students will have the opportunity to build the programme around their specific interests by drawing on optional modules from a range of disciplines, while also developing an understanding of the musical practices of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The programme is particularly suitable for students wishing to deepen their understanding of social and cultural theory and to develop applied research skills. It appeals to those wishing to develop a career in the international NGO sector, in arts-based public sector programmes (e.g. UNESCO) and in arts policy. Students interested in research may proceed to MPhil/PhD in ethnomusicology or allied disciplines.
Scope and Syllabus
Music in Development explores the role of music within the broad framework of Culture for Development. It builds on the premise that music and associated performance modalities represent significant discursive sites where local knowledge, social structures and cultural subjectivities are negotiated and affirmed. Drawing on the theoretical intersections between advocacy/activist ethnomusicology and a range of cognate disciplines - e.g. anthropology, gender and development studies - it aims to build critical understanding of how music's agentive and imaginative capacities act in different contexts to communicate needs and interests, and to mobilize action.
The course places particular emphasis on the politics of listening and focuses on the role of sound and performance in the following capacities:
- As a framework for self-representation and critical citizenship
- As a source of oral history, memory and local knowledge
- As public education and community mobilization, and
- As a catalyst for personal and societal change
The syllabus is partially led by students, who together will shape its thematic trajectories. The following represent some of the areas of interest from previous years of study:
- Music, Human Rights and Social Movements
- Music, Violence and Conflict Resolution
- Forced Migration, Displacement and Cultural Identity
- Music, Local Knowledge and Sustainable Livelihoods
- Music, Health and Wellbeing
- Musical Memory and the Politics of Repatriation
Overview duration: Duration: One calendar year (full time). Two or three years (part time, daytime only). We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.
- UK/EU fees:
Who should take this course
Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.
The MA Music in Development programme involves taking 120 credits taught modules in addition to writing a 10,000-word dissertation (60 credits). In addition to these formal elements, students are expected to attend regular postgraduate and public seminars and may also participate in performance ensemble classes and other activities.
Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis.
The part-time MA may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) in the first year, and two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) and the dissertation in the second year.
Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits modules evenly in each of the three years. The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.
About Course Provider
Our mission is to inspire the next generation to develop ideas for a fairer and more sustainable world. We welcome the brightest minds from over 130 different countries, creating a community that is diverse, vibrant and multinational. From day one at our central London campus, our students are encouraged to challenge conventional views and think globally – and that’s one of the reasons why they develop careers that make a real difference. A SOAS student is typically passionate about their subject, opts to learn a second language, loves to learn, to travel, to be surprised; and is interested and engaged with the world around them.