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Music as a tool for integration

Music as a tool for integration

How can music be a tool for promoting integration and intercultural competence? A research project will take a closer look. (Illustration photo: Colourbox)

INN University is a partner in an international research project that will explore how music can function as a tool for promoting integration and intercultural competence.

A key part of the Mapping the Music of Migration (MAMUMI) project is to gather audio recordings of migrants' musical stories in an interactive app, which aims to raise awareness and tolerance of cultural diversity. By presenting and contextualizing different music traditions as an important part of migrants' life experiences, the project seeks to counteract negative stereotypes, and contributes to increased understanding of music's role in how migration influences cultural exchange and identity negotiation.


Kai Arne Hansen and head of department Ingeborg Lunde Vestad

Kai Arne Hansen and head of department Ingeborg Lunde Vestad

“Migration is one of the most burning political and social issues of our time, and the project captures this theme by focusing on how musical practices facilitate, or exclude/hinder, social relations and integration,” explains associate professor Kai Arne Hansen at the Department of Art and Cultural Studies, who is INN University's contact person for the project.

The project is led by Dr Abigail Gardner at the University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, with partner institutions in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Norway, and Spain. The project will run during two years until October 2021, and has been granted over NOK 2.7 million from Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships.

“Researchers at the Department of Art and Cultural Studies at INN University, together with the project leader, have the main responsibility for developing the theoretical and methodological framework for the project, as well as for disseminating the project's results through peer-reviewed publications,” says Hansen. The other partners in the project are nonprofit organizations that will develop and conduct local MAMUMI workshops, which should facilitate the exchange of experience and the collection of material for the app. 

Music as a positive mechanism

“A primary ambition for both the workshops and the interactive app is to use storytelling about music as a positive mechanism for promoting integration and creating new spaces for cultural exchange,” Hansen continues.

Kai Arne Hansen specializes in research on music and identity, gender and sexuality, and contemporary media. In addition, INN University Associate Professor Camilla Kvaal is participating in the project, as well. She has written her doctoral thesis on intercultural music practices.

Competence development

“The project will involve both local workshops and project meetings with international partners at INN University (Hamar), and represents an opportunity for the institution to increase its competence around the importance of music in the field of migration and integration. The project will thus benefit both research and teaching environments at INN University, and can stimulate future collaborations across sectors and national borders,” Hansen concludes.

Partners in the project: