Our AHRC-Istanbul Development Agency Networking project Transtraditional Istanbul follows two basic, key principles: first that society and its functioning can be positively affected through music, and second that research demonstrated in practice creates real change.
TTI addresses key development challenges for Turkey by establishing a network with four key partners (TMDK, MIAM, UoB and IKSV) dedicated to the preservation and development of traditional Turkish musical cultures in danger of disappearing––namely Bozlak and women’s throat songs (boğaz havaları) from the Teke region, and by bringing this music into a contemporary, urban musical discourse. TTI’s Altkat workshops and Gurbet Korosu, provide core activities that support development and empowerment of culturally underrepresented and disadvantaged groups within Istanbul and Turkey, youth, women and girls, powerfully influencing the young musicians of tomorrow.
TTI incorporates methodologies modeled over the course of the PI’s five-year, ERC-supported Beyond East and West (BEW) project to address issues often arising in common transtraditional musical situations, bringing such methodologies into situations where they will achieve maximal impact: ‘on the ground,’ in practice. It presents proof of solutions we have developed in response to cross-cultural challenges, with public-facing learning and performance activities to increase standards and common understanding of each other’s musics––with workshops led by professional musicians who have already had key role in BEW themselves. This aims to elicit the development of intercultural skills to young musicians at a far earlier age, better preparing them for the diverse 21st century musical landscape, especially represented in places such as Istanbul.
Our longer-term aim is to positively change pedagogy and performance of music in Turkey, raising awareness of the importance of bozlak and boğaz havası traditions, embedding TTI’s principles and processes first within workshops, and eventually the curricula of schools and conservatories to ensure lasting impact. Such transcultural methodologies and models meanwhile will be found applicable to a wide variety of disciplines, providing models for a society today frequently faced with the selfsame communicative challenges.