Music ecosystems

Over 10 months the global research organisation Center For Music Ecosystems has examined the role of music and resilience in Nuuk (Greenland), Torshavn (Faroe Islands) and Juneau (Alaska) through local interviews, surveys and community engagement. 

The objective of the research has been to demonstrate the value of making music more integral to how communities think about - and act on - the challenges they face economically, socially and environmentally. It looks at music holistically and demonstrates that by recognising and investing in making one’s music ecosystem resilient - no matter the location - the entire community benefits.

Examining the role of music through the framework of resilience

The report ‘Defining Resilience in Remote Music Ecosystems’ offers a policy toolkit and a set of recommendations to strengthen the local music ecosystems and their connections to secure the survival and sustainability of small, mid-sized and geographically isolated communities. The toolkit is based on the idea that music, in all forms and functions, can be understood as an ecosystem - a collection of actors within a specific sector, infrastructure and surrounding variables, that often intersect with other sectors, for example, the tourism industry or urban development.

The work focuses on the definition of resiliency itself, in which music ecosystems have the capacity to absorb a variety of internal and external shocks and disturbances and examines how resilience is embedded in the music ecosystems of the three regions, proposing actionable ways to strengthen it. Strengthening the resilience of the music ecosystem of smaller and more isolated regions enables them to withstand shocks and better deal with ongoing change, making them future-proof. 

Read a short summary of the report here

Policy toolkit for securing long-lasting, resilient music ecosystems

For each community, the research has explored: 

  • The Current State of Play (how things are now) 
  • Future Scenarios (how things could be)
  • Resilience Building Blocks (how to get there) 
  • Requiring Resilience (what to be aware of) 
  • Threats (current and potential) 

The research offers 29 recommendations which outline what components of the ecosystem require resilience and what is needed to build it into policy and practice. 

The executive summary and comprehensive report detail how each action can impact each community, but are relevant to any small, isolated, rural or remote community. 

The recommendations are split into short, medium and long-term outcomes, and include: 

  • Detailing the impact of mapping music infrastructure, places and spaces; 
  • How music can enhance and support a joined up communications strategy across city and third-sector agencies, such as tourism or chambers of commerce; 
  • How to break down silos and create stronger communities through deliberate and intentional engagement with music and local musicians; 
  • How local and regional governments can best support music and how to best adapt this support to local contexts; 
  • How to support young people and accelerate education through music; 
  • How music can help retain talent and reduce emigration, while also being a tool to attract new talent and business from outside. 

From research to concrete policies and practices

The next stage of the partnership project will aim at establishing the first Music Policy Resilience Lab, to put the 29 recommendations into practice with local, regional and international partners and experts. A further 15 communities will be included and 6 education labs will be conducted over the next 12 months, creating implementable policies, resolutions and programs to adopt in each of these communities.