An independent co-ed IB school (JK to Grade 12) in North Vancouver, Canada
March 2nd 2021



Since the mid-2000s, students in the World Music Program have been learning about the role that music plays in bringing about social change. Students study South African Freedom songs, and the vital role music played during the long struggle against apartheid, and they have performed these song both locally and abroad. Vusi Mahlasela, often known as "The Voice" of South Africa during the anti-apartheid movement, once remarked: “For South Africans, I think, from the painful history that we come from, music was the only thing that gave us courage, to just give ourselves hope and get on.” Music was also used to spread important political messages between anti-apartheid organizers, who otherwise had no means of communicating while under the watchful eyes of their oppressors; often, the upbeat rhythms and melodies sounded hopeful, but the words, which their oppressors didn’t understand, were warning communities of potential threats and dangers. Learning about freedom songs serves as a launching point for students to explore issues of cultural appropriation, colonization/decolonization, and the many cultures around the world that have relied on music to bring about social change. Here are some historic photos: One is a cake that a student brought in to celebrate April 27, South Africa’s “Freedom Day,” and the other is a concert in which students presented a 30-minute original piece of music, called the “Gratitude Project.” The words the students wrote were a collective reflection of their hopes for the future. Brockton School’s WMP was then invited as a mainstage performer at the International Society of Music Education (ISME) conference in China (2010). The ISME was formed after WWII, and its aim has always been to promote cooperation and peace through music education initiatives that promote intercultural learning, international cooperation, and respect for the richness and diversity of all cultures.

Grade 9 Visual Arts students have been inquiring about contemporary art and artists, exploring how they use various art forms and methodologies to push societal boundaries. During their most recent unit, students researched a local political theme or issue to inform their artistic practice. Through a visible-thinking strategy, they gained a deeper understanding of their chosen theme. Students used two printmaking methods (Intaglio and Block Printing), as well as collaging to create their political art composition. The result was multiple art works and reflections that focussed on general themes of racism, discrimination, social change and justice, and human rights.



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