Music And Resilience Support (MARS) responds to an urgent and ever increasing need to develop efficient and cost-effective strategies in support of deprived, marginalized communities in diaspora due to military/political/social conflict, both within Europe and farther afield. The project develops of a full training course in psychosocial music intervention, for community musicians, music therapists and health and education workers. This will contribute to the development of a specialized workforce trained in psychosocial intervention, as a protection against multiple risk factors emerging in under-resourced and marginalized communities, where chronic high- or low-level stress affects emotional, cognitive and social functioning, in particular in children and adolescents, undermining the community's capacity to care for itself internally and to respond to the external environment with adaptation and flexibility.
MARS calls into cooperation a group of highly competent organizations working with music as a powerful tool for psychosocial rehabilitation and reintegration. 5 of the 6 partners are European and represent a wide range of focusses in the promotion of musical rights, education and well-being: International Music Council (France), Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy UK, the Catalan Choral Movement (Spain), Prima Materia Association (Italy), Euridea Education Agency (Italy). The sixth partner, located in Lebanon, the National Institution for Social Care and Vocational Training, brings a unique and essential contribution to the project, after almost forty years of caring for the country's refugee population, historically Palestinian and currently also Syrian, and will provide teaching expertise and a location for project fieldwork.
These partners come together to optimize resources, and to develop and test a high quality, accessible training, in which new ICT supported open education resources will be combined with traditional teaching methodologies and fieldwork opportunities.
The training will be recognized with certification, 'open badges' and provision for ECVET credit.
Central to the training packet will be the MARS Online Resource Center, offering new technology teaching materials and methods, and a research/reference section, with bibliography and sitography. A MARS Specialization Profile will be defined, with a 'demand and supply' window, linking specialists to potential employers.
The project's preliminary phase will address the researching and preparation of the course contents and resources, informed by an initial Needs Analysis. Essential to the project's success will be the formation of the MARS Staff Group, comprising 15 highly competent and experienced professionals from the partner organizations who will train together to build coherence in project vision, pedagogy and methodology. Staff will guide a pilot group of 18 students from 5 countries (France, UK, Italy, Spain, Lebanon) through the course, providing on-line tutoring and supervision.
The 2nd phase of the project will comprise the launching of the website, the formation of the student group and initial E-learning in preparation for the MARS Training Seminar, a 10-day residential mobility learning experience in Italy, during which a wide variety of experiential workshops will provide the students with hands-on knowledge. Issues raised during this inter-cultural meeting period will stimulate essential learning about many of the cross-cultural challenges of working in diaspora communities.
The project's 3rd phase will be dedicated to E-learning, terminating in a 2-week period of fieldwork in the refugee community of Lebanon, supported by European supervisors and local staff , offering the Pilot Student Group the essential complementary experience of applying assimilated training techniques in a sample community. The closing phase of the project will cover assessment, documentation and final report writing.
Running parallel to the development of the MARS training and related resources will be the realization of 8 multiplier events at music education and therapy conferences to be held in the programme countries. These occasions will publicize MARS 'work-in-progress' and results to an extensive audience of experts, students and professionals from related fields of practice, and will offer workshop activities and discussion forums.
MARS will result in the formation of 2 new teams – training staff, and trained students – for the development and promotion of psychosocial music resources, supported by a tested, sustainable and freely accessible online training and research environment. Partner organizations will benefit from a intense and rich period of exchange and discovery of best practices, the 'ripple effect' of which will generate a network extending throughout Europe and beyond, ultimately resulting in increased availability of psychosocial music interventions for the benefit of suffering communities, wherever they are.