Home / News / The International Music Council: Opportunities for ISME Member Collaboration
Sheila Woodward
The International Music Council: Opportunities for ISME Member Collaboration
22 Sep 2017

Report from Sheila Woodward, ISME Past President and IMC Board Member

As a new International Music Council (IMC) Board member, I had the recent joy of attending orientation meetings in Paris. I am proud to follow in the footsteps of past ISME Presidents and Board Members who have been elected to the IMC Board, including the current IMC President, Emily Akuno.

At the 1947 UNESCO General Conference, a motion was approved to form the IMC as an advisory body to UNESCO, funded by UNESCO, and housed within UNESCO’s physical proximity. It was not long after its 1949 founding that IMC determined the need for an international music education body. Thus, ISME came into being in 1953. While UNESCO’s operational funding of NGOs has dwindled, IMC retains its rights to observe at UNESCO meetings, and take the floor at cultural conferences. ISME is thus able to submit its recommendations to UNESCO through IMC, either proactively or on occasions of IMC consulting its members on specific topics.

There are numerous benefits of ISME’s IMC membership. Besides the increased visibility ISME achieves through publications of our news and events on their website, ISME is eligible to submit a nomination for the IMC Music Rights Award. Recently, an ISME-sponsored Pakistani project for children with exceptionalities won this prestigious award. In 2011, another ISME-nominated project Teaching Cantonese Opera in Hong Kong Schools received the award. Furthermore, ISME members are offered significant opportunities to collaborate on IMC programs that promote musical diversity and support cultural rights for all. Several ideas follow for your consideration.

Firstly, ISME members are invited to collaborate with IMC on mapping a two-year schedule for operationalising and promoting IMC’s Five Music Rights. Furthermore, as ISME’s principles and beliefs are reflected in these rights, IMC is inviting and welcoming ideas and discussion from ISME on possible avenues of cooperation to implement the work plan. Not only individual members, but also Commissions, Forum and SIGs might like to consider ways of collaborating.

Secondly, as an example of implementation, interested members might like to team up with IMC towards continuing its African Music Development Programme which has been supported with EU funds over the past three years, in cooperation with over 10 partners from Sub-Saharan Africa. The program’s objective has been to increase the employability of young African music students and music professionals. The next step involves planning student exchanges, with a view to bridging the gap between academic training and the needs of the music industry in Africa.

A third example of potential collaboration is the education component of the International Rostrum of Composers. Currently, there are more than 30 national radio networks that commit to annually broadcasting recent works of the composers listed. The education component targets higher music education institutions, currently collaborating with three music academies (Birmingham, Belgrade and Palermo). ISME members may consider teaming up with IMC to expand this cooperation to promote contemporary music analysis and performance by music students.

ISME members may also inquire about a fourth IMC-led cooperation project Music and Resilience Support which may continue if follow-up funding is approved. The project has developed a full training course in psychosocial music intervention within under-resourced and marginalised communities, for community musicians, music therapists, and health and education workers.

Furthermore, IMC would welcome ISME members cooperating with them to promote the project Teaching Music in Pakistan that received this year’s IMC Music Rights Award. We are also invited to design and participate in ISME-led panels at the next World Forum on Music (WFM) 2019 in Paris, as we’ve done before at previous World Forums. The 2019 Forum will celebrate IMC’s 70th anniversary: all ISME members are invited to join! Finally, IMC is also requesting that we provide them with ideas on how IMC can help ISME achieve its objectives and implement its work plan. To follow up on any of these opportunities, please contact me or Silja Fischer, Secretary General, IMC, Maison de l'UNESCO, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris, cedex 15, France, Tel. +33 1 45 68 48 50, Email: s.fischer@imc-cim.org, Web: www.imc-cim.org.


  • African Music Development Project
  • IMC community music activities with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon


Sibelius Academy