Culture and Community Researchers’ Network, October 2011

Presenter: Lesley Pruitt, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Victoria University
Shifting Identities, Becoming Peacebuilders

Thursday 6 October

For this study, I conducted fieldwork with two non‐government organizations – in Australia and in Northern Ireland ‐ involved in youth peacebuilding projects that utilize music. Findings from this study suggest that music can play a major role in encouraging identity work that may offer alternative understandings of identity for young people, both of themselves and others. While limited, the evidence discussed here shows that music may be used in developing more peaceful understandings of the self, developing greater self‐esteem, and aiding in healing. At the same time, music‐based peacebuilding programs may also enable youths to develop different concepts of the identities of others, challenging stereotypes and actually experiencing working together collaboratively.

Lesley Pruitt received her PhD from the School of Political Science and International Studies at UQ, with her completed doctoral dissertation, The Use of Music in Youth Peacebuilding Projects. Her publications include articles in the Australian Journal of Peace Studies, the International Journal on World Peace, and Global Change, Peace and Security. Lesley is grateful to be able to do research alongside young peacebuilders who constantly amaze her with their talent and dedication.

Find out more about Lesley’s work on her website

2011 Program – the Culture & Community Researchers’ Network