SingFest Bosnia

Singing in Bosnia, A pilot singing and music project for schools - bridging post-war East and West Mostar.

They did it!


On 4th Nov 2015 we successfully raised

£765

with

24 backers

in

28 days


Project owner

Project aim

A singing and music project to promote and encourage harmonious relationships between the communities of East and West Mostar and, more broadly, the constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Serb/Orthodox, Croatian/Catholic and Bosnian/Muslim). We aim to do this by establishing, (with a pilot project in Oct/Nov 2015) an annual programme of shared music making & teacher training with elementary and special schools on either side of East/West divide in the city of Mostar and its environs (SingFest 2016-18). In each of these years, the project will culminate in an annual concert/s with choirs and drumming ensembles from each school and a specially-convened youth orchestra.

About the project

Funding will be used to support a pilot singing project (28th Oct-4th Nov) led by four UK-based musicians in eight schools in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina – four primary schools (two each from east and west), two secondary schools (one each from east and west), a special school and a mixed nursery school. 

Background

Following the Bosnian war (1992-5), a system for educating children under segregated nationalist curricula was developed. In Mostar there are now segregated schools on the east side (Croatian/Catholic) and west side (Bosnian/Muslim). The vast majority of Mostar’s Bosnian Serbs left the city during the war. Each set of schools have their own curricula, buildings and teaching staff.

Nearer to the centre of the city, where the two communities have been forced to share school buildings, the “two schools under one roof” system operates. Children in a single building are physically separated by ethnic group and learn from different curricula - one group in the morning and another in the afternoon – each group with a separate entrance and different teaching staff.

There are two music schools in Mostar – one on the west side (housed in the Croatian cultural centre Hrvatski Dom) and one on the east side (Muzički Centar Pavarotti). In the centre of city there is a large, elegant building which replace the old Yugoslav music school destroyed in the civil war. The ethnic tensions in the city mean that the old Yugoslav music school remains empty.

English Pocket Opera Company (EPOC) and CAMS Music Trust (CMT), with their experience in running SingFest projects in England with up to 50 schools at any one time, and with the support of several local institutions, are teaming up to establish an annual programme of shared music making & teacher training culminating in an annual ‘SingFest’ – with Singing and Drumming workshops, interactive presentations in school, web-based resources, teacher and workshop leader training, in-school teacher and curriculum support, and an annual concert celebratory concert.

  

The Pilot Project 2015

Between 28th October and 4th November we will take four UK-based musicians who will lead workshops in the eight schools. Michael Copley (flautist and workshop leader) has been visiting Mostar since the war. Through his efforts and the generous support of Sir Richard Stilgoe there has been music therapy at the city’s only special school for over 15 years. Mark Tinkler (workshop leader) has been twice to Mostar - leading workshops and setting up SingFest. Mark and Michael will be joined by two singers – Samuel Pantcheff and Pamela Hay – both of whom have extensive experience in leading SingFest workshops.

 

Workshop at special school Centar za djecu i o mladinu sa posebnim potrebama ‘Los Rosales’ in 2014. 

 

For more information – including full proposals for 2016-18 and reports on previous visits – please contact mark.tinkler@epoc.co

In addition to meetings with interested parties the itinerary of workshops will look like this. 

 

Wed Oct 28

Travel

Thu Oct 29

Workshops in special school - Centar za djecu i o mladinu sa posebnim potrebama ‘Los Rosales’

Fri Oct 30

Workshops in SOS Djeċiji vrtiċa Mostar (SOS Kindergarten)

Sat Oct 31 - Sun Nov 1

Rehearsals of Opera Blocks – a one-hour interactive presentation for schools – with simultaneous Serbo-Croat translation

Mon Nov 2

Performances of Opera Blocks (in Serbo Croat) in 3 schools (East and West Mostar) – for up to 300 children in each school.

Tues Nov 3

Performances of Opera Blocks (in Serbo Croat) in 3 schools (East and West Mostar) – for up to 300 children in each school.

Wed Nov 4

Travel

 Workshop in 2014 at one a Mostar nursery rebuilt by SOS Childrens' Villages after the war. 

Excerpts from “POST-2015 NATIONAL CONSULTATIONS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA CULTURE AND DEVELOPMENT Final Report by the UN Country Team in Bosnia and Herzegovina November 2014”

“The education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been faced for twenty years with critical issues of structural fragmentation, politicisation, and drop in quality provision. There are pronounced differences in policy in the country between entities, cantons and municipalities relating to all key issues regarding education. Divided and mono-ethnic schools, multiple curricula, lack of respect for legal safeguards and fears regarding loss of identity in multi-ethnic schools are all highlighted. Intercultural and inclusive education as concepts are not comprehended and implemented in satisfactory manner. No systematic approach exists towards integrating principles of intercultural education into teaching and learning, which is essential for making inclusive societies.”

 "Culture is recognised in BiH as a key for peace and security and inclusive social development. Intercultural Understanding in BiH 2013 study ….. indicates that that the opinions of BiH citizens concerning multiculturalism are overall positive.

 “BiH citizens believe that an improvement in intercultural understanding is necessary and they hold the BiH government and the political leaders as most responsible, while they hold the parents and schools to be the most responsible for spreading tolerance amongst children. The majority of BiH citizens are exposed to some extent to contact with other cultures, still many citizens rarely have a chance or do not have a chance at all to encounter individuals of different cultural backgrounds and heritages, and to form their opinions about them and their culture based on experience. “

Michael Copley and Mark Tinkler in Mostar October 2014