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Moving towards resilience



PHD project

Promotors: Luc Nijs, Bob Selderslaghs (KCA) & Peter Van Petegem (UA)

(Image Design: Maro Kakouri)

In an era of constant change and threats from political conflicts, viruses and climate change, humanity is challenged in numerous ways. Children are among the most seriously impacted from these adverse conditions, due to their youthfulness and lack of social power. Many seek refuge or migrate to European countries, hoping for a better future. Yet, often their struggle continues, facing difficulties at school, within peer community and their broader social circle. Music has proven to act as a powerful tool to stimulate empowerment, and social bonding. 


The aim of this PhD research is to grow as an artist-educator through the development of research-based practices that use the “power of music” to have a meaningful social impact. The starting point is the idea that the integration of joint music making moving together, can help to build resilience. The focus lies on the role of bodily movement in music education for heterogenous groups of local, newly arrived immigrant and refugee children. The driving questions are:


What artistic and educational competences are needed to design empowering movement based music activities? What is the role of co-creation in a child-centered methodology?How can the participatory design of such activities be used to promote resilience? 


By developing a solid artistic-pedagogical framework the researcher aims to investigate the potential of the participatory aspect in designing movement-based musical activities to promote resilience of a diversity of children. To achieve this, the designed workshops will promote a safe space for the children to express their interests in music, welcome their musical memories and teach them to approach the multiplicity of sound and movement with an open mind. The workshops will include activities such as collective improvisation, body percussion, instant composing, graphic scores, soundwalks and LBMS (Laban Bartenieff Movement System) inspired movement exercises.

Georgia Nicolaou


Georgia Nicolaou.png

Georgia Nicolaou (1990) is a Cypriot composer, musician and educator based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She holds a master’s degree in Composition from Codarts University of the Arts, and she previously studied Composition at the Utrecht Conservatory and the Ionian University in Corfu, Greece.


She is currently a teacher at Musica Impulscentrum voor Muziek in Belgium and a piano instructor in Rotterdam. Besides, she is actively involved in projects promoting social inclusiveness and she presented her work at conferences such as the Social Impact of Making Music (SIMM) Symposium 2018 in Porto. She is a member of the monitoring team of the recently acquired Creative Europe Project “Resilience in resonance. Teaching children at risk to play an instrument through music and movement”, coordinated by dr. Luc Nijs.


Further, she is an acclaimed composer, pianist and singer. She was awarded the Tera de Marez Oyens prize during the Gaudeamus Muziekweek Utrecht 2016. Georgia’s works have been performed in prestigious music festivals, such as Operadagen Rotterdam 2019, de Parade 2019, November Music 2018, Transit 2018 and Gaudeamus 2018 among others.

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