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IYMF annual concert: Spain in concert, December 14th 2023

The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, highlighted Spain’s unique musical richness in the framework of the closing event of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which ran from 1st July to 31 December 2023.

Great soloists of different nationalities from the Brussels Chamber Orchestra came together in a performance of universal music and accompanied the prestigious Spanish cellist, Asier Polo, considered one of the most important cellists of his generation.

The programme was centred on Tomás Bretón (la Gran Jota de la Dolores), Manuel de Falla (Suite popular española), Isaac Albéniz (Cádiz), Arturo Márquez (Danzón N°2) and culminated with a brilliant interpretation of Variations on a Rococo Theme composed by Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky, interpreted by Asier Polo in a masterful and very moving way.

The concert took place in the prestigious Protestant Church of Brussels Museum and gather proeminent guests from both the Spanish Embassy and the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. This very special event was supported by private sponsors such as Iberdrola, Unesda, Banque Delen, Finnova and Spanish Chamber of Commerce, as well as by Belgian public authorities.

After the concert, a reception took place in the Palace of Charles de Lorraine, a spectacular place nearby the Chapel, property of the National Library.

The audience was really moved by this outstanding musical performance which ended the year in a spectacular way and which we will remember with deep admiration. Indeed “Music is a therapy, a communication far more powerful than words, far more immediate, far more efficient” as would have said our dear Maestro Menuhin.

 

Marianne Poncelet, IYMF Executive Vice-President

 

©Boris Jancen

“Transforming education through the arts” roundtable at the European Parliament.

The 30th-anniversary roundtable of the MUS-E® Programme, hosted by MEP Javier Moreno Sánchez, on 6 December 2023 marked three decades of impactful artistic education fostering well-being and social inclusion.  

Organised by the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation (IYMF) in collaboration with Fundación Yehudi Menuhin España (FYME), this event, co-funded by the European Union, celebrated the visionary efforts of Yehudi Menuhin to integrate arts into education, promoting accessibility for all.  

The MUS-E® Programme, created by the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and developed by 12 organisations across Europe and beyond, has evolved into an international initiative empowering artists, teachers, and children, particularly in disadvantaged areas, nurturing creativity and well-being. 

 The event, hosted by MEP Javier Moreno Sánchez and moderated Marianne Poncelet, Executive Vice-President of IYMF, featured esteemed speakers from European Institutions, the Permanent Representation of Spain, IYMF, and MUS-E: 

  • Enrique Barón Crespo, President, Fundación Yehudi Menuhin España (FYME) and Honorary President, International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation (IYMF),  
  • Ibán García del Blanco, MEP, CULT Committee,  
  • Marcos Ros Sempere, MEP, CULT Committee,  
  • José Ángel Piña Sánchez, Education Attaché, Permanent Representation of Spain to the European Union,  
  • Anna-Maria Giannopoulou, Deputy Head of Unit – Schools and Multilingualism, DG EAC, European Commission,  
  • Leonor Cambournac, International MUS-E Council Chair and MUS-E Portugal National Coordinator, Associação Yehudi Menuhin Portugal (AYMP)  

Read more in the pdf version of the report here.

MUS-E Network expansion in Greece

From October 17th to October 20th 2023, Marianne Poncelet, Executive Vice-President of the IYMF, initiated new contacts in Greece, with the aim of exploring the possibility of introducing the MUS-E® programme there in 2024. The IYMF has a long tradition of working with Greece, as in the past we collaborated with the MELINA Project in Greece, promoted by Melina Mercouri, the Greek Minister of Culture at the time, and whose objectives were quite similar to our MUS-E® programme. We have since signed a memorandum of understanding with the Technological University of Crete, a privileged partner of the IYMF for the digital training of our artists, and we have also developed an interesting collaboration with the World Human Forum as part of an innovative European project entitled Green Tales. Over the years, we have made friends with a number of people in Greece, including Louisa Anastopoulos, whose work in the field of education at the European Commission has always supported the IYMF’s activities since its creation.

Louisa offered to establish initial contacts to introduce MUS-E in Greece, and together we visited the school that could be the first pilot school for our programme in Greece. The school was the pre-primary school “To perivoli tis Yayas”, located in Kalamata and linked to a primary school next door. This school, which is of a very high educational standard, was built after the earthquake in Kalamata by Banque Alpha to help disadvantaged families in this part of the city, and has since been supported by the Kostoupoulos Foundation.

We had the pleasure of meeting the school’s director, Adriani Russopoulou, as well as the enthusiastic and dynamic teaching staff, who are already open to artistic practice through visual arts, and who are delighted to be able to extend their knowledge by welcoming a musician, singer, or dancer as part of the MUS-E® programme.

We’ve also had some excellent discussions with a rising Greek pianist from Kalamata, Manos Kitsikopoulos, who is interested in supporting our work.

The next stage will be to look into the possibility of creating the statutes of MUS-E Greece and establishing collaborative links in Kalamata and Athens in the world of culture and education, so that we can rely on a network of associations wishing to participate in our development in this country. We already have good prospects with several people who have all offered to support us in our development. We also have a Greek presence on our Board of Directors, in the person of George Metakidès, who has always encouraged us to expand in this part of Europe, and we have also attracted the support of Spyros Pappas, former Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Culture and President of the Argo association (Hellenic Network in Belgium), who is interested in supporting our presence in Greece.

Furthermore, given that Yehudi Menuhin was an honorary citizen of the island of Mykonos, where he resided every summer, what could be more natural than to envisage a musical celebration of our beloved Maestro in the Cyclades, where we made our first contacts with the island’s mayor? A musical dimension to be developed in the future too.

So there’s plenty to look forward to, through music and all the arts, to help children’s creative voices emerge from an early age.

Marianne Poncelet

IYMF Executive Vice-President

Advocacy roundtable in Evora, Portugal: Art in education to empower society, May 26th 2023

 

On Friday 26 May 2023, the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation (IYMF) in partnership with Associação Yehudi Menuhin Portugal, Évora University and Évora City Council organised the Roundtable “Art in Education to Empower Society”.

The event, taking place at Évora University, brought together relevant stakeholders to discuss and advocate for the power of art education for social inclusion with the participation of distinguished speakers from the Portuguese political, social and academic panorama and from the International Council of the MUS-E® programme created by the IYMF. Around 50 people attended the event, the audience included international and Portuguese artists, and local teachers, school directors, and NGOs.

The Roundtable

Marianne Poncelet, IYMF Executive Vice-President, and moderator of the event, opened the roundtable by presenting the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, the ARTEFORA 2023 project, and introducing the speakers:

-Ana Telles, Director of the School of Arts at the University of Évora,

-Werner Schmitt, IYMF Vice-President,

-Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, President of AYMP Board and Member of IYMF Board,

-Paula Mota Garcia, Team Coordinator Évora 2027 European Capital of Culture,

-Tom Goris, MUS-E Belgium National Coordinator,

-Andor Timar, MUS-E Hungary President.

The importance of Music in Human Development - from STEM to STEAM – the involvement of policymakers

Ana Telles, Director of the School of Arts at the University of Évora, focused her introductory speech on the importance of music in the development of the human being. She highlighted three different spheres in which music shows its impact: individual, social, and general wellbeing. Ana Telles emphasised that music can help to foster several competencies, among which cultural awareness, creativity, and critical thinking, and that nowadays the arts’ positive impact on the human being and his body is corroborated by many scientific researches[1]


T Dahlberg, S. (2007). Think and Be Heard: Creativity, Aging, and Community Engagement. The National Arts Forum Series. https://www.academia.edu/11086899/Think_and_Be_Heard_Creativity_Aging_and_Community_Engagement.

Participating in the arts creates paths to healthy aging. National Institute on Aging. (2019).

https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/participating-arts-creates-paths-healthy-aging#:~:text=Research%20on%20music%2C%20theater%2C%20dance,stress%20and%20increased%20social%20interaction.

Haider, S; Patrício, L.; Freitas, A. et al. (2022). Co-creation on Active Aging Challenges in Portugal. White Paper. Innovation Think Tank, Siemens Healthineers.

https://dspace.uevora.pt/rdpc/bitstream/10174/32749/1/Siemens-Healthineers_ITT_White_paper_co-creation-on-Active-Aging-Challenges-in-Portugal.pdf.

Lewandowska, K. & Węziak-Białowolska, D. (2022). The impact of theatre on social competencies: a meta-analytic evaluation, Arts & Health, DOI: 10.1080/17533015.2022.2130947.

McMahon, K.; Clark, I.; Stensæth, K.; Wosch, T.; Miller, H.; Bukowska, A. & Baker, F. (2022). A qualitative systematic review of the experiences of sharing music for people living with dementia and their family care partners: the thread of connection, Arts & Health, DOI: 10.1080/17533015.2022.2128381.

“Research has shown that art has a positive impact on the human being and his body"

The originality of the MUS-E® concept

Werner Schmitt, IYMF Vice-President, illustrated the origin of the MUS-E® programme stemming out of a discussion between Yehudi Menuhin and Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, in Paris in 1992. He highlighted the originality of Yehudi Menuhin’s philosophy, resulting from broadening the concept of music education developed by the Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist and teacher Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967) to include all creative arts spanning all cultures. Today MUS-E associations of 12 countries have built up a wealth of experience in implementing on a regular basis the activities of artists mostly in primary school curriculums, working particularly with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This year marks the 30-year anniversary of the MUS-E® programme: everyone is welcome to attend the celebrations in Gstaad on 26th August.

Towards an Innovative and Humanist Model of Education

Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, President of AYMP Board and Member of IYMF Board, former Minister of Education of Portugal, discussed the recommendations on policies towards an innovative and humanist model of education, following the path of Helena Vaz da Silva, who was President of the Centro Nacional de Cultura (National Culture Centre – CNC) in Lisbon and Member of the European Parliament and established MUS-E in Portugal. He emphasised, on one hand, the importance of education for all, as a means of societal empowerment, and on the other hand, the difficulty of mobilising decision makers on this matter. He continued by stating that education should go hand in hand with the understating of art and concluding that the role of artists and of citizens is of extreme importance, as art in education is a significant element for freedom, equality, solidarity, partnership, cooperation, democracy, and responsibility.  

“Art in education is a significant element for freedom, equality, solidarity, partnership, cooperation, democracy, and responsibility”

Évora 2027: empowering local communities through the Arts

Paula Mota Garcia, Team Coordinator of Évora 2027 European Capital of Culture, presented the project of Évora 2027, based on the poetic and philosophical concept of “Vagar”. Here, the word from the Alentejo region, means awareness and full understanding of the right tempo and space, respecting the new position of the human being which is always in connection with the universe. Paula Mota Garcia highlighted the transformative power of art in connecting people with nature and the universe, promoting human rights and the right to the city and therefore the power of collectivity in Évora and Alentejo region, where inclusion and democracy are two important principles. She presented the work of Évora 2027 as an investigation, raising new questions and answers, emphasising the need to engage local communities in this process. Local communities, and local stakeholders, are invited to be co-creators here and “Vagar” becomes a principle for a more peaceful coexistence with all that is around us, including the other.

“Local communities are co-creators here”

The example of MUS-E Belgium

Tom Goris, MUS-E Belgium National Coordinator shared examples from MUS-E Belgium activities developed in Wallonia and Flanders since 2000. He highlighted the diverse projects carried out, ranging from social inclusion to language and creativity, emphasising the importance of a bottom-up approach, and the humanist nature of the project, working on the participants’ emotional intelligence. As an independent art organisation of artists with critical views and creative souls, MUS-E Belgium brought the reality of Belgium. The MUS-E programme is currently being implemented in 12 countries and in each of them there are different layers (social, educational,…).

 

“The importance of working with a bottom-up approach”

Following the speakers’ speeches, also the audience, mainly composed of artists, teachers, school directors, and NGOs, took part in the discussion. Participants in the room intervened on the personal interpretation of the concept of “Vagar”, perceiving also as a moment of joy and pleasure of being together, on the role of art and artist in education and critical thinking, sharing experiences and practical examples on the power of the art in society. 

In her follow-up, Ana Telles emphasised the potential and power of art, on societal topics such as inclusion and climate change as art can change mentality. She underlined the importance of a change of paradigm, from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) and the importance of creative process and interlearning. She recommended to involve the policymakers in the creative process and seize the actions!

“Let’s involve the policymakers in the creative process and seize the actions!”

Conclusions

Andor Timar, MUS-E Hungary President, wrapped up the discussion based on the examples explored during the roundtable: the MUS-E programme and its international experience of 30 years and Évora 2027 European Capital of Culture. According to Andor Timar, the speeches mark the transition period for a big change, a new chapter starting. The purpose of this era could be the connection with the universe and peaceful coexistence. He emphasised that art is a proper tool to enhance and foster democracy, solidarity, freedom, responsibility, and consciousness and that art and artist can be very helpful to see and reflect on what we are living within the society, being creative, critical, and culturally aware. Policymakers should be involved in the creative process and today we should seize the moment to build tomorrow.

To conclude the event, IYMF Executive Vice-President, Marianne Poncelet, thanked the panellists and the audience for the enriching exchange and discussion and invited all to the networking drinks.

 

Recommendations

The recommendations can be summarised as following:

-Encourage policies towards an innovative and humanist model of education and emphasise the importance of the role of art and of artists in societal development: art and artists can contribute to a more inclusive, democratic and free society;

-Increase funding and support for arts and arts education programmes in order to allocate more resources for all;

-Recognise the role of art in fostering competencies such as creativity, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and emotional intelligence;

-Integrate arts in the curricula: education system should prioritise the integration of arts in the curriculum, changing the paradigm from STEM to STEAM;

-Support continual research on the impact of arts and arts in education on human well-being: research on the impact is essential to provide evidence-based support of its inclusion in policies;

-Ensure lifelong practices in arts: promoting lifelong learning in the arts can ensure that individuals continue to benefit from arts education beyond their formal schooling years;

-Support grassroot co-creation initiatives and bottom-up approaches for local communities,

-Encourage interaction, dialogue and collaborations among stakeholders in the field of art in education and involve the policymakers in the creative processes.

From left to right, the roundtable participants: Paula Mota Garcia, Ana Telles, Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, Werner Schmitt, Marianne Poncelet, Andor Timar, Tom Goris.

 

Sharing reflection moments after the roundtable with a networking drink.

Programmes

Media Press Review

The event was featured in local newspapers and local authorities web pages:

Diario do sul, 21/07/2023: https://diariodosul.pt/2023/07/21/escola-da-cruz-da-picada-acolheu-parceiros-internacionais-do-programa-mus-e-2/?fbclid=IwAR23fvMcLAKGqTEkmLWyb44VxjW04eQibtjRmUCt887ruDtPGtZqn5kImhk

Radio campanario, 31/05/2023: https://www.radiocampanario.com/ultimas/regional/evora-acolheu-encontro-transnacional-do-projeto-erasmus-educarte

City Council, 31/05/2023: https://www.cm-evora.pt/evora-acolheu-encontro-transnacional-do-projeto-erasmus-educarte/

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

 

 

 

Contacts

Marianne Poncelet, Executive Vice-President

marianne.poncelet@menuhin-foundation.com

Bianca Rubino, Project Manager

meredith.borodine@menuhin-foundation.com

International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation

Boulevard du Souverain, 36

B-1170 Brussels

www.menuhin-foundation.com

2022 International MUS-E Festival

The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation presents the second International MUS-E Festival ! The festival will once again happen online and  broadcasted on www.concertwithyou.com.

From December 5 to December 20,  MUS-E organisations from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Liechtenstein and Belgium will present what MUS-E children and artists have been up to. 

This festival is a way to promote all social initiatives and artistic creations that happen within the MUS-E network, support MUS-E artists in sharing their work and raise awareness about all MUS-E network activities and missions. 

MUS-E IN A NUTSHELL

Through practicing arts, MUS-E helps children, artists and teachers thrive together in school, so they can become ambassadors and active members of a more balanced, equitable and inclusive society. 

MUS-E is aimed at primary schools, mainly in Europe, which are faced with the challenge of educating a growing multicultural group of children, many of whom come from migrant or disadvantaged families and are at risk of social exclusion or other societal problems. In the presence of teachers, professional artists actively involved in MUS-E introduce and share various art forms (singing, dancing, music, movement, theatre, visual arts and multimedia, etc.). Through this collective work, the MUS-E programme encourages dialogue and conviviality, while awakening children’s sense of creativity, empathy and resilience. MUS-E is active in 12 countries around the world including: Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Israël, Cyprus, Kosovo and Lichtenstein. Spain (250) & Italy (157) have the largest number of school and institutions while Cyprus (2) and Kosovo (5) concentrate the smallest number.  

PROGRAMME

December 5: Switzerland
December 7: Germany
December 9: Spain
December 12: Portugal
December 14: Liechtenstein
December 16: Belgium
December 20: Italy

Princess of Asturias Awards

The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation has nominated flamenco dancer Maria Pagés for the Fundacion Princesa de Asturias 2022 Prize in Spain. This nomination was accepted together with that of the singer Carmen Linares.

The Princess of Asturias Foundation convenes the Princess of Asturias Awards, which are presented annually in Oviedo, the capital of the Principality, in a solemn academic ceremony attended by the King and Queen of Spain, Reina Sofía and Princesses Leonor and Sofía. Princess Leonor presented the prizes of her Foundation to the winners who have distinguished themselves in the fields of the arts, social sciences, communication and humanity, concord, international cooperation, scientific and technical research, sport and literature.

Each laureate was then announced and seated on either side of the royal dais. This year’s winners of the Princess of Asturias Award 2022 were Carmen Linares and Maria Pagés, who won the Arts Award for “modernising and adapting the essence of flamenco in the contemporary world, elevating it even further to the category of universal art”. The two artists then performed a magnificent duet combining song and dance in the most traditional flamenco interpretation on the stage of the Campoamor Theatre. See a video from the performance here.  

In 1997, Yehudi Menuhin and Mstislav Rostropovich won the Concord Prize in the same prestigious setting and collected it together on stage. 

 

Paper: Culture, the arts and well-being

While we are all confined and trying to cope under extreme circumstances the global population being more isolated than at any other time, it is also a time for reflection on our societies; on how we relate to our environments and economies. It is a challenging time that questions our sectors of activity and how we can contribute to societal development in new contexts; what lessons can we take from the challenges and what will emerge? In times of crisis, there is a tendency to look for means of resilience from the technological, scientific and economic sectors. The role of arts and culture, however, has become a source of inquiry. Culture is a connective tissue and the collective crisis we are facing proves the fundamental role that culture plays in building resilient, fair and healthy societies.

 

Today we see on social media increasing trending hashtags such as #CultureTogether, #cultureathome and #culturekeepsmesane revealing that of all the necessities we now feel so keenly aware of, the arts and their contribution to our wellbeing is evident and, in some ways, central to coronavirus confinement for those of us locked in at home. For some of course, there are more pressing needs. But momentary joys, even in dire circumstances, often come through the arts and collective expression. We find comfort in images of people singing and playing music on their balconies, virtual gallery and museum tours, free concerts and live sessions of our favourite musicians, etc. We also witness an increased availability and access to digital culture and artistic contents in this challenging time. Art can set you free, but not only.

 

IYMF has worked in the field of culture, the arts and resilience while implementing its activities in the field of intercultural dialogue and social inclusion through the arts. The value of arts engagement on a number of aspects is underpinning all its projects and should become a central part in the development of its strategy. The META project (Minorities Education Through the Arts) that IYMF coordinated also focused on the development of a framework and research dealing with arts and resilience (https://www.meta-project.eu/images/Competences-framework.pdf). As defined by Merriam-Webster, resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from stress. In today’s world turmoil, being able to withstand the related shocks and stresses for both individuals and societies is more important than ever. The arts can help build resilience.

 

Moreover, over the past two decades, there has been a major increase in research into the effects of arts on well-being and health. The World Health Organization has published a report on the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well being (2019) gathering 3000 studies that identified a major role for the arts in the prevention of ill health, the promotion of health and management of illness across the lifespan. The increasing number of research comes along with developments in practice and policy activities in different countries around Europe. For example, in the United Kingdom joint publications between Arts Council England and the National Health Service have been produced since 2007, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has included health within the new Culture White Paper; and All-Party Parliamentary Group report Creative Health has made a series of political recommendations to the UK Government and other bodies. In Finland, the Government adopted a policy programme for health promotion in 2007 that focused on enhancing the contribution of art and culture to health and well-being. In Ireland, Arts Council Ireland and the Health Service Executive have been collaborating since the late 1990s, producing policy and strategy documents on the potential collaboration between the arts and health sectors. In Norway, the Government has instituted a public health law and a cultural law, with both emphasizing the importance of arts in health promotion and care. In Sweden, the Swedish Parliament has started a Society for Culture and Health and a Cultural Politics Commission, etc.

 

Nevertheless, those developments have been focusing on individual countries and aiming to change and influence policy at national levels. Today more than ever, we need a stronger Europe, long-lasting and long-term developments, more exchange of good practice, cross-country programmes and European interdisciplinary structures and mechanisms.

 

Policy recommendations

 

  • Share knowledge and good practices and promote collaboration and dissemination of arts interventions in their context to promote health and inform policy
  • Acknowledge the growing evidence base for the role of the arts in improving health and well-being
  • Support research in the arts and health
  • Ensure that cultural diverse forms of arts are availbale and accessible to a range of different groups across the life-course
  • Encourage cultural organizations to make wellbeing an integral part of their strategy
  • Promote the value of arts engagement
  • Develop interventions that encourage arts engagement to support healthy lifestyles
  • Strengthen structures and provide cross-funding initiatives in the area of participatory arts, health and well-being

Women singing for peace

Today is the International Women’s Day and we would like to pay tribute to those women, whoever and wherever they are, who stand against the terror and fight for their rights.

The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation has a long tradition of organizing concerts and stage productions delivering strong messages. Utopia or not, we still believe that music remains an extraordinary and essential vector for harmony and tolerance between populations and people. We leverage our strenghts to bring together musicians and artists from very different cultures, backgrounds and horizons. That’s when unexpected and magical outcomes often appear.

The productions of concerts allow for an extraordinary experience of the arts but stir reflection about one’s own perspective and wider meanings. 

Hence the concert “Voices for Peace” at the Cirque Royal in Brussels in 1997 featuring seven women from areas of the world in which poverty or oppression were facts of life. Seven women who sang for peace and gave a beautiful lesson of humanity and dignity, accompanied by the traditional instruments of their culture.

The International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation invited seven singers from all over the world to come and sing peace at the Cirque Royal. The choice of performers and their originis was no coincidence since the omnipresent message of this evening was to pay tribute to these women, whoever they are, who oppose terror.

It might seem a little utopian – voices as beautiful as they are were never able to silence weapons – but when the moving Algerian Houria Aïchi began to sing the sound of the flute and bendir, you did not have to be an expert in international politics to feel the pain of an entire peaple.

The bubbling gypsy Esperanza Fernandez, the Tibetan Mantras of Yang Du Tso, the Israeli-Yemeni singer and crusader for cultural harmony Noa, the spokesperson for millions of Amerindians Luzmila Carpio, the legendary Iranian singer Marzieh, and Miriam Makeba, a symbol of the struggle against the apartheid irradiated the Cirque Royal.

For the final, the seven singers all united under Yehudi Menhin’s direction and delivered a powerful message for peace.

They are the first voices that we listen to, we, the newborn children. We have heard them before, when our live was under preparation, and maybe the reason we are trying so hard to meet them is because we want to hear them better

Yehudi Menuhin

Art brings people of all kinds together by MUS-E Hungary

Community building in Budapest

Since the MUS-E program was launched in 1994 by Yehudi Menuhin, the targeted groups of the transcultural social-artistic programme were defined according to the “CAT model”, as Children, Artists and Teachers, those individuals that actually take part and benefit directly from the artistic workshops. As time went by, and different national and international projects were born and implemented, we had to realise that the primary agent of socialization, namely the family cannot be excluded from our approach, if we do want to create long-lasting results in the improvement of well-being, and equal opportunities for vulnerable children.

The idea of thinking in the scope of communities is not revolutionary in social work, but to implement it with the help of the MUS-E programme is new and faces many challenges. First of all, we have to realise that parents many times show a lack of interest in the school-life of their children, and it is very hard to attract them and convince them to participate. We had to think and act together with school directors, teachers and artists, gaining inspirations from the best practices of other relevant programs, about what activities could gain their attention and willingness to participate. When we started to work in a school in the socialist type neighbourhood of Budapest in 2018, and our office also moved there, for the first time in our operation we could start dreaming about an own community place, where in the future we can organise family events, workshops and also summer camps for children. We spent one year to build closer, tight and trustful relation with the school, and this autumn we already organised our international meeting of WAC project in a way, that international participants left their creative footprint in the shape of a community painting for the children, that we further developed with parents and children in an open-afternoon joyful session in November. For our biggest surprise, all the targeted 25 kids could enjoy the presence of their parents and siblings. Our aim, for which we want to build a fundraising campaign in 2020, is to co-create the space itself – that is in ruins now – with families, including hand-painted walls using the community paintings, a workshop-room and a renovated child-friendly open-air courtyard. We want create opportunities where families can gain new ideas and real experiences about how to spend time together in a meaningful, free and creative way, and to increase the opportunity that a real and helping community can be formed also in our age and in city-settlements.

The real value of international dimension by MUS-E Hungary

We all Count and Arte por la Convivencia – International Meetings in Budapest

Following the very successful and inspiring international meeting of the We All Count project on 30th September and 1st October, MUS-E Hungary welcomed another international team in Budapest coming from six countries, in the framework of the Arte por la Convivencia- Art for living together project.

Why are these meetings so important? What is the real value behind? If we take at first the international scope, it is essential that those professionals: teachers, artists, school directors and representatives of municipalities, who work with great devotion for the same cause in different parts, in different communities of Europe can get-, think-, and share time together. For MUS-E Hungary it’s been a great opportunity to consider what elements we really want to show, what we really want to highlight about our working environment and approaches during these two days. We aimed to give a very deep and profound insight into the everyday life of one of our primary schools, located amongst the socialist-type-block-of-flats neighbourhood in Budapest. Beyond that, we wanted to demonstrate that a socially sensitive artistic program can only function sustainably in an institution, that believes in the necessity to bring non-formal, unique and diverse pedagogical approaches into the public educational system that truly needs reconsideration in its design of curricula and methodology. We also wanted to give opportunities for those teachers and pedagogical experts that contribute to the well-being and development of students and teachers with their special knowledge and experience. Such elements were the holistic approach of pedagogy, Delacato movement therapy, the proper integration of Autistic kids, and of course the MUS-E programme. Apart from all these, we created moments where the whole community could spend creative and joyful time together, therefore we organized an open workshop, where students, teachers, and the international team could create together wonderful natural Mandalas in the courtyard. At last but not least, for the children welcoming non-Hungarian speaking „strangers” is always a very exciting experience, that makes them vivid, open-minded and curious, an experience they may remember through the rest of their lives.

We would like to express our gratefulness for all those people who contributed with their knowledge, passion and heart to the implementation of the program.

In recognition of the cultural wealth of the Roma People through the years

Our heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the International Roma People’s Day on 8 April, which commemorates the First World Gypsy Congress (London, 8 April 1971), at which the flag and the anthem of the Roma were created.

« I speak to you as a born Jew, in my heart forever a Gypsy since we fiddlers are members of the nomadic tribe, like the Gypsies who have never experienced justice on earth. I would go as far as maintaining that our planet is not worthy to house humanity until the Gypsies are able to move about the earth in total freedom, with the freedom of the birds in the air and the fish in the waters – provided air and water will continue to be elements of life »

Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin was a prominent supporter of the cause of the Roma. He admired the cultural richness of a people that have endured the vicissitudes of life through the ages without ever altering their identity. He constantly defended his support, emphasising the virtuosity of their music and the flexibility of their way of life and thought. Menuhin participated in March of the Century programme by Jean-Marie Cavada, entitled “I met the Gypsies” together with Emir Kusturica and Taraf de Haidouk. He was also the guest of honour at the International Gypsy Congress in Barcelona in 1997, which brought together Roma delegations from all over Europe. He dreamed of establishing an “Assembly of Cultures” where the voice of every cultural minority present in Europe would be heard, including that of the Roma.

 

This is why, since its creation in 1991, the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation (IYMF) has continued to involve the Roma in its various programmes, as well as by working together with the President of the Union of the Spanish Romani, first Gypsy MEP and close friend of Yehudi Menuhin.

The IYMF’s concerts often include Romani artists along with musicians from different cultural backgrounds. They participate in an intercultural dialogue that is created by the magic of music. Such was the case with the memorable concert “From the Sitar to the Guitar” performed by Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar at the Brussels Royal Circus Theatre in 1995, which illustrated the journey of the Roma from India to Andalusia. This was also the case for the IYMF’s other concerts, among others, “The Voices of Peace” with the Andalusian Gypsy Esperanza Fernandez alongside Noa and Miriam Makeba, “Menuhin’s Dream” with the Gypsy singer Juan Peña, ” Traveling Voices “with Esma Redzepova, the Queen of the Roma from Macedonia, and more recently the 2012 Flagey concert “Voices to Share”, which brought together women from diverse backgrounds inspired by Gypsy music and showing their support of the Romani people’s cause, such as Vaya con Dios, Maurane and Iva Bittova.

The various European projects led by the IYMF since its creation have always had a Roma dimension: be it the “Enfants d’ici, Contes d’ailleurs” project, which led to the publication of a collection of tales from the Roma, Armenian, Kurd and Berber peoples in several languages, or the “Iyouwe Share the World” flagship project of the 2008European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, which enabled us to initiate collaboration with the Roma Education Fund in Budapest.

The IYMF also initiated two programmes: “Sharing all Voices” (2008-2010) and “Voices for Tomorrow” (2011-2013) which took us to various parts of Europe, particularly Eastern Slovakia, to meet the Roma, with whom our Artist Ambassadors could share the values dear to Yehudi Menuhin: respect for cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, creativity and transmission. It was due to our trip to Slovakia that allowed us to participate in the European conference on the role of culture in the integration of Roma that took place in Brussels in April 2012 at the initiative of the European Commission. On that occasion, we invited on stage children from the Roma settlements around Kosiče with whom we had worked in collaboration with the Romani singer Ida Kelarova.

 

One of the IYMF’s tasks in each of the above initiatives has been to draw attention to the situation of the Roma people who are still living in unprecedented precarious conditions. In doing so, we also highlight the rich traditions of the people, who represent a true European minority and still have a lot to teach us.

 

Along the same lines, we implemented the European project “Art4ROM”, whose objective was to propose an artistic action in the schools and in the Roma settlements of several European countries, in Hungary, Slovakia and Italy, relayed by partners with complementary skills, including Roma associations such as Unión Romaní in Spain or ERIO at the European level, who were responsible for bringing their expertise, insight and perceptions to the project, in collaboration with MUS-E Napoli for their artistic expertise with children of all cultures.

 

This successful project was followed by “Music4ROM”, which aimed to deepen the musical heritage of the Roma and their influence on classical music throughout the centuries. Bringing together some partners of Art4ROM and adding the expertise of new partners such as Sons Croisés in France or Activ Art in Romania, the project ran from 2013 to 2015 in several European countries. The highlight of this project was the organization of a Master Class in Paris at the Cité Universitaire under the leadership of Maestro Jorge Chaminé. Young Romani and non-Romani musicians gathered under the guidance of Romani and non-Romani experts to discover the musical richness of the fascinating and passionate Roma culture that inspired many composers such as Manuel de Falla, Brahms, Ravel and Bartok. This was brilliantly illustrated during the “Music4ROM” concert performance in Brussels, where classical and Roma musicians shared their talents with enthusiasm and brio in front of an enthusiastic public.

 

Author: Mrs. Marianne Poncelet, Executive Vice-President of the International Yehudi Menuhin on 7 April 2018

E-ARTinED

Teaching creatively is essential to make learning a process that all students can enjoy and benefit from. The arts are undoubtedly an exceptional tool for a teacher because an artistic activity stimulates emotional intelligence. By offering countless opportunities for sensory learning that engage emotions – essential to long-term memory – the arts make it easier to understand content in school subjects. Thus we can teach mathematics through music, history through the visual arts, science through dance, geography through theater,…

This was the credo of the ARTinEd project, created in 2011, which gained the support of teachers and European authorities in charge of education. The project activities were tested by many enthusiastic teachers who were waiting for new proposals in the same spirit.

E-ARTinEd extends this vision and expands its resources, exploring three new topics: “Social inclusion through the arts”, “Exploring nature through the arts” and “New technologies related to art” “. Through E-ARTinEd a community of practice has been created and an online course has been set up, so that teachers experience, through the arts, inspiring tools for their work.

This approach has been tested in several pilot residences in schools and in natural settings, including artists and teachers as well as project partners. The didactic resources of the project have been enriched with new good practices based on art. Online courses have been made available to teachers.

It is now a matter of publicizing this approach to the general public, and to this end, a major conference will be held in Edsbyn, Sweden, from 16 to 17 August 2018, for the benefit of teachers, school administrators and cultural actors. It will consist of presentations, practical workshops, seminars and a variety of artistic proposals. It will provide a meeting place where teachers and cultural actors can find the inspiration and motivation to integrate the arts into education and pedagogy

Both ARTinED and E-ARTinED have been co-financed by the Sweedish Erasmus+ Agency.

Author: Marianne Poncelet, IYMF Executive Vice President (based on information provided by the project as well as by the organizers of the Final Conference)

META – Minority groups Education Through Art

“It is the reaction of children – their joy in learning to dance, to sing, to live together, which guides us. This should also guide the whole world”

Yehudi Menuhin

 

Yehudi Menuhin believed that by exercising our senses through the arts and paying attention to the diversity of European cultures, we would become capable of generating genuine respect for others and desire for peace, accomplishing individual and collective achievements of all who bear the burden of responsibility for this world of suffering. Menuhin was thoroughly convinced that children should all receive a creative education which encourages rather than suppresses a child’s gifts, thereby nurturing an enlightened generation of individuals who would reject and eradicate all forms of violence. The reasoning was that the arts would enable the development of young people’s personalities towards greater open-mindedness, respect and the desire for peace.

Twenty years after Menuhin’s death, in a Europe plagued by fear and distress, one of the many societal challenges to be met is the social inclusion of migrants through education.

In recent years, European schools and researchers have finally started focusing on arts in education as an innovative learning method, particularly for children from disadvantaged or immigrant backgrounds or for those having learning difficulties.

Many projects have been designed to promote innovative educational methods in Europe that integrate all forms of creative arts in primary schools. Some have been empirically based, while others have taken a more scientific approach, based on analysis and evaluation from the perspective of various disciplines: social sciences, pedagogy, psychology, anthropology, cultural studies or intercultural dialogue. This last is the case of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation’s MUS-E® programme, which has been operational for more than 25 years in primary schools in several European countries. The programme, managed by national MUS-E® associations, offers artistic workshops for children aged between six and twelve to awaken their sense of creativity, empathy and resilience, enabling them to explore and exploit their potential and becoming genuine creators of change.

The META – “Minority groups Education Through Art” European project builds on the longaccumulated experience of the MUS-E® network, as well as on the innovative achievements of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation’s other projects, such as ART4ROM and MUSIC4ROM, and E-ARTinED. META’s core premise is that the arts can improve certain key competences in children, including motivation, concentration, self-confidence, teamwork, critical thinking, cognitive and verbal skills, among others. In other words, the practice of the arts in school is closely linked to a pupil’s social and emotional development and academic achievements, as well as to greater civic engagement and understanding of equal opportunity, not only in the classroom but also in society as a whole.

The META project proposes a clear methodology and tools using different art forms that aims to reduce the learning disparities of pre-school and primary school children from minority groups (including the Roma). The project is also developing a new, collaborative learning and teaching methodology for European teachers, which would be conducive to enhance social cohesion and further nurture European citizenship.

The piloting experiments conducted as part of the META project in four MUS-E® countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain,) illustrate that the use of music, song, dance and the visual arts in the classroom stimulates a more creative and enjoyable educational experience for children and, above all, facilitates their integration in school, which otherwise could be a major challenge.

A multicultural Europe whose goal is social inclusion cannot afford to allow so many children with disadvantaged backgrounds to leave school prematurely. If Europe is to advocate societal change, we cannot sit back and accept the continued overwhelming preponderance of children of migrant or minority backgrounds who are school dropouts or poor academic performers, simply due to the fact that specific educational needs are not currently being addressed by conventional education policies.

Moreover, the risk of dropping out of school or of being left behind academically does not only affect children of migrant or minority backgrounds. Innovative educational approaches using the arts as a lever for creative and transformational expression can be effective for children of all backgrounds and contribute to inspiring teachers and parental involvement.

These approaches therefore broaden the virtuous circle that allows all individuals to tap into their own backgrounds and participate in co-creating the future.

Author: Marianne Poncelet, IYMF Executive Vice President (based on Yehudi Menuhin’s quotations and on the presentation of the META project)

MultiLib artistic workshops in Namur with Marlène Dorcena (20 and 23 February 2018)

The country of Haiti and the Creole language are at the heart of Marlène Dorcéna’s concerts and musical workshops. She speaks and sings with bittersweet conviction about Haiti under the sun, the misery and the social realities. She claims African ancestry – her ancestors having been uprooted from their land and transported as slaves “to the Americas”. Marlène has been welcomed and appreciated in the Belgian art scene ever since her arrival in Belgium, and has performed traditional Haitian music around the world. She is always in search of new sounds that reflect basic emotions produced by traditional instruments such as the lambi (conch shell instrument used during the revolution of the Haitians against colonial rule), the Haitian drum, pine, hazelnuts, ti bwa, agogo, maracas, shells, etc.

Marlène Dorcéna is also the author of a collection of Creole stories and songs to share a part of her childhood with children and to pay tribute to her grandmother.

MultiLib – The Multilingual Library for Children in Europe

Today, an increasing number of children are entering school with a need to develop their potential and learn to find a place in a rapidly changing society where even parents are having trouble keeping up. Regardless of whether or not they are from an immigrant/migrant background, children will need to be prepared to face a multicultural world with multiple facets and values.

Destined to “educate and enrich both the soul and the life of this world,” tales are part of human cultural heritage. They were created in ancient times and have come down through the centuries thanks to their educational value. Tales nourish and develop the imagination.

They allow us to project ourselves into a universe where all options are possible, and may then be reintegrated into our ordinary lives. The use of tales and stories is the oldest strategy to extend our vision of the world and of ourselves to another level. Venerable sages and masters of wisdom such as Milton Erickson, Idries Shah and Clarissa Pinkola Estes have used them because of their power of healing and stimulation towards social cohesion.

With this in mind, the MultiLib European project has developed several beautifully illustrated children’s stories in the form of e-books into twelve languages, including into six languages of cultural minorities present in Europe. These stories, whose authors and illustrators come from selected cultural backgrounds, recount the traditions or peculiarities of each culture through a series of metaphors or symbolic narratives that encourage transformation. They are stories in which each child can recognise him-/herself and where the child can learn and develop his/her imagination.

MultiLib accordingly meets the needs of teachers who seek new, innovative strategies to enable them to manage multicultural classes. The project proposes educational concepts, methodologies and tools to facilitate social inclusion and mutual understanding. It also encourages language learning to be fun and enjoyable. Today’s teachers need to provide children of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn new skills. They must also create pleasant and reassuring contexts, where speaking another language or coming from another culture enriches rather than detracts from, and becomes an asset for the entire class.

In spite of the ubiquitous presence of instant communication technologies that characterises contemporary society, it is the stories that have been handed down over the centuries, often orally, that best convey the meaning of experience and knowledge. By virtue of the universality of the symbols they contain, stories address that part of humanity which is common to all humans. While stories feed on themselves and evolve via their own creative processes, they also awaken the imagination, the magic, a universe of possibilities and sense of pleasure in us.

The tools developed specifically by the MultiLib project consist of e-book toolkits. These are composed of various children’s stories transcribed digitally as texts together with pictures and animations, videos and voice recordings in all languages represented by the project, as well as descriptions of activities to be carried out with children and a teacher’s guide.

Children and teachers from the partner countries involved also have the opportunity to exchange their own videos featuring their artistic achievement and performances related to activities with the stories.

Hence, storytelling as an innovative educational methodology is valuable for both children and teachers, as they can share in an inspiring and creative adventure together, using modern digital communication means whilst discovering new cultures.

Author: Marianne Poncelet, IYMF Executive Vice President (based on the description of the MultiLib project and reflection by Gilda Grillo)