Please note that there are two different conference venues:
June 14/15 - Century City Conference Centre
June 16 - Kirstenbosch Conference Centre (transportation available)
Thursday, June 15 • 15:00 - 16:30
Healing Through Music - Marion Brown, Scott Jones

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Symposium Summary
Healing Through Music

Presenters: Marion Brown, Scott Jones
In Nova Scotia, Scott Jones was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of homophobic violence.  His decision to found a choir and return to choral conducting has been a critical component to his recovery.  Also in Nova Scotia, young people who have experienced homelessness and struggles with mental health and addictions experience themselves in new ways by singing in a community choir and shift public perceptions of ‘youth at risk’ through their public performances.This symposium brings together research from these three locations and presents evidence for music as a protective factor in individual, collective, and cultural resilience.  We invite others to come with their stories of the same and seek to grow an international network of resilience researchers with this focus.

Symposium Abstracts 
Choral Singing as Protective Factor for Youth Wellbeing
 Marion Brown (Dalhousie University School of Social Work, Canada)
Co-Authors: Scott Jones, Lisa Lachance
Introduction: What is the impact of community choir participation on youth who've faced multiple barriers including mental health challenges, addiction, homelessness, discrimination and social isolation?  Anecdotal evidence suggests that young people coming together to sing can be an enriching, fulfilling experience, yet there's a lack of empirical study on the question. 
Methods: This research targets a community based strategy (community choirs) that, while showing promise in stabilizing the effects of combined environmental and personal challenges, has not been empirically studied to establish a set of indicators that measure its protective function.  We are undertaking participant observation and qualitative interviews with young people who have faced significant adversity in their lives and who participate in community choirs.  
Findings: Youth embrace the opportunity to tell their stories through song; interact positively with the public; and change the prevailing narrative of ‘problem youth’ and their ‘burden’ on society.  Community based initiatives that are effective in meeting health and social care needs can reduce pressure on overburdened and under-resourced formal systems.

Choral Therapy: How Choir Saved My Life
Presenter: Scott Jones (VOX: A Choir for Social Change, Canada)
Introduction: I am a musician and choral conductor. In 2013 I was attacked in an act of homophobic violence and left paralyzed from the waist down.  Five months later I launched the Don’t BE Afraid Campaign, a movement promoting honest conversations about homophobia/ transphobia, and VOX: A Choir for Social Change. 
Methods: The choir’s objective is to explore and break down the social barriers that prevent a more inclusive society through creative expression. VOX has been a critical component to my recovery.  Since November 2014, we have met weekly to sing and engage in discussions which probe at the meanings beneath the music and deepen understandings of individual, cultural and institutional values, beliefs and assumptions.  This work is autoethnography, with a focus on my journey to recovery through choral music and a choir’s ability to manifest positive change, even to save a life. 
Findings: The paper highlights my healing journey through song, conveying the power of choral music to actualize a society free from discrimination and violence, where human rights and inclusion can be assured. Implications for other choral-based initiatives will be shared.

avatar for Marion Brown

Marion Brown

Associate Professor, Dalhousie University
Hello all; I am a social worker with 25 years experience working with young people facing barriers of poverty, mental health struggles, addiction and discrimination. I now teach at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and sing in two community choirs... Read More →
avatar for Scott Jones

Scott Jones

Founder/Artistic Director, VOX : A Choir for Social Change
Hi Everyone! :) I am a musician, activist, and avid traveller based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. After a life-altering attack left me paralyzed in 2013, I began an anti-homophobia campaign called Don't BE Afraid, as well as a choir called VOX: A Choir for Social Change. Both... Read More →

Thursday June 15, 2017 15:00 - 16:30
Room 09 Century City Conference Centre

Attendees (9)