Research Stream


Samantha Dieckmann
The University of Melbourne

Music, Emotion and Conciliation

This project examines the ways in which music and the arts are used to foster empathy in interfaith and intercultural contexts, enacting conciliation through the construction, popularisation and expression of emotions.

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The project Music, Emotion and Conciliation is an investigation of musical engagement as a pertinent context in which the construction, popularisation and expression of emotions in people’s personal everyday lives, as well as their ceremonial lives, takes place. In researching interfaith and intercultural music exchanges, and music used to represent religious feelings, nationalistic feelings and the feelings surrounding migration, seeking refuge and resettlement, CI Professor Jane Davidson and postdoctoral researcher Samantha Dieckmann examine key sites which highlight the role of emotions in effecting political change and conciliation. Through observing and interviewing facilitators and participants in interfaith and intercultural community music programs, as well as songwriters and performers who work to promote peace and conciliation, their project also considers the interplay between the performativity of emotions and how music can be used to “try out” and at times create affective states. The intercultural music spaces which form the fieldsites for this project highlight the cultural continuities and discontinuities the underlie Australia’s contemporary national identity, addressing key concerns within CHE's Performance and Shaping the Modern programs.

Community and industry engagement is central to the Music, Emotion and Conciliation research project, which enjoys partnerships with Multicultural Arts Victoria, the Australian Multicultural Foundation, VICSEG New Futures and Cultural Arts Collective. In addition to investigating several performing arts-based initiatives run through these organisations, this research project involves collaboratively designing and implementing interfaith and intercultural community music programs that foster emotional empathy.

Image: Cumbia Cosmonauts ft. Somali Peace Band, Amadou Kallisa and Lamine Sonko, ReMastered Myths at St Kilda Festival 2014. Photo by DWV Photography