Exploring Cultural Appropriation, Appreciation and Honouring

Welcome, friends and songleaders. We have put together this series of reflections and queries in the hope that it will help us all in our exploration of music and songleading in the context of wider conversations about racism, cultural honouring and appropriation.

These are challenging explorations, and we may feel some discomfort in facing them, but we invite you to let go of judgement and engage with an open and enquiring heart. We are not offering answers, as these are as diverse as our contexts, but we hope to help spark enquiry and conversation that will enrich all of our work as singers, song learners and song teachers.

The songs we sing don’t exist in a vacuum; they interact with the world in which we live. Songs and contexts change, just as people and communities change. Our understanding as individuals and as a community is constantly evolving and this document will be periodically updated to reflect this. We welcome your responses, and are hoping to set up an open blog-style mechanism for this on the new NVN website in 2022.

We will explore questions such as: How do we learn and teach songs? Who benefitted financially from the sharing of these songs? Who is in the room, and why are some people under-represented? How might we adapt our practice to be more inclusive across the board?

We have created a Touchstones video of some of the important points for consideration, to help us keep connecting with these enquiries when preparing material to teach:

This video is a ‘simmering down’ of a longer document that can be watched here.

If you would like to read more on this topic, please click here.