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Critical Debates on Music Education for Social Change


The ISME Critical Debates in Music Education for Social Change Special Interest Group was formed in 2012 by Theodora Stathopoulos, Richard Hallam and Graça Mota. It was originally devoted to music education focused around the principles and practices of El Sistema and in Sistema-inspired programmes around the world.  Gradually, the focus has changed to a broader remit of exploring and examining principles and practices relating to social justice and social change in and through music. Therefore, the SIG name was changed officially in 2019, to reflect this broader focus.


The mission of the Critical Debates in Music Education for Social Change SIG is to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of research and practice concerned with the role of collective music learning and participation in social justice and social development.


The Critical Debates in Music Education for Social Change SIG represents a community of music educators within ISME who research, practice and theorise the underlying principles of social justice and social development through collective music making. Its objectives are to:

  • Share knowledge
  • Explore best practices
  • Develop innovative approaches to research within contexts that share those principles.
  • Provide a forum for critical dialogue that positions Sistema-inspired work (the former SIG focus) within a wider conversation concerned with international perspectives on music and social justice


The Critical Debates in Music Education for Social Change SIG achieves its mission through:

  • A discussion group using a Facebook group
  • Curating a series of world conference presentations that are designed to take forward best practice
  • Sharing resources


Click here to contact the SIG Co-Convenors, Christine d'Alexander and Brian Kaufman.

Join the Facebook group. You don't have to be an ISME member to join.

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