The significance of intercultural music activities: A study of Norwegian Palestinian cultural exchange
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OriginalversjonI: Look beyond – make a difference. Experiences from a music project in Lebanon
This article discusses a community music project in the Palestinian refugee camp Rashidieh in southern Lebanon. The Lebanon Project, as it came to be called, was established by Norwegian music educators in collaboration with the Palestinian organisation Beit Atfal Assumoud (BAS), which runs the project at a social centre in Rashidieh. The music project offers music and dance activities for children and adolescents aged 7–20 two days a week. A central part of the music project is the cultural exchange between Norwegian and Palestinian children and adolescents. Music students from the Norwegian Academy of Music (NMH) visit the camp every year as part of their education. Groups of Palestinian students have also visited Norwegian schools and institutions during the past 10 years and have performed and taught Palestinian music and dance. This article is a study of these cultural exchange activities based on my own experiences from a longer stay in Lebanon during which I worked as a teacher for the music project in Rashidieh. Drawing on ethnographic methods and anthropological theory, I will attempt to reach a better understanding of the meaning the Palestinian youngsters attach to their participation in the cultural exchange activities, how they connect these experiences to their life in general and what meaning these activities have in the social and cultural context in which they live.