Learning about  research

Time for a swim

Posted in: by Pete Moser on 24 November 2015
Tagged with: HK Nov 15

I usually find a style for my blog posts. I have been writing these short 'travelogues' for 9 years and over 18 trips to the Far East. Sometimes they start with a poem - a haiku or a rhyming pattern dictating the character of the writing. I haven't found the focus this trip. Maybe I would like it to end up as a song - a long ballad. I will find the form!

30 lengths of the 50 metre pool at Sham Shui Po park is my start to the day. A glorious old style open air pool that I find out later was close to the compound where the Vietnamese Boat People lived in the 70's. It then had a reputation for fights between migrants from the north and south and so the local population stopped swimming there. No longer the case - I find a lane and enjoy stretching out. Travelling on the bus back I think about how yet again I am living in this city - finding my way round in a comfortable fashion, connecting with friends and colleagues and getting busy. 

At the office I sit with Mok to talk about another large application for funding for community music. I ask him about the driving strategy for CCCD (his organisation is now 11 years old) and it is clear that the programmes of work do fit into a pattern. The issue is that because all the work is project funded it is very difficult to create long term strategy. there is a commitment to Community Music and this next application will be to the Swire Charitable Trust and could fund a 3 year project of CM development. We know what we want to do - articulating it into a 2 page document is now my job!

A meeting with David and Susan then kicks off the next phase of research for the Ho Foundation project - Sham Shui Music. I am excited by the possibilities this project brings and as the afternoon progresses I realise that the planned programme will have to change as we learn from the findings. Stage one is a serious mapping of the ethnicities and communities in this 350,000 population district. Desk research followed by a series of interviews. I will lead a set of these over the next 10 days (with translators).

Travel on the packed MTR to the Academy of Performing Arts for the evening workshop with a case of instruments! It is hot and sweaty for the time of year - the case heavy with metal!

 31 people in the dance studio of the conservatoire - a total mix of people come to experience 'Community Music in Action'. Hosted by a lovely man called Indy who is a theatre director and now Head of Performing Arts Education at APA. I have a good set of questions to answer and focus the session around these

What happens in a workshop?
How do we engage people who have never played?
What skills do we need as facilitators?
How do we reflect and evaluate?
Why do we do it?

A beautiful moment comes when we are taking about Rites of Passage and go round the circle asking everyone to share a first or last moment. The sense of intimacy and trust is immense and people say the most beautiful things. 
We talk about birth, death, haircuts and friendship. 
Singing, performing, lying and leaving. 
A last birthday, a last show and jumping of a cliff.

Late supper conversation follows with Stephen (Director of Research at APA), Indy and Mok. We talk about research strategies and I hear amazing stories about Stephen's studies of the Haka music here and in China. I love the tales of the cursing songs that are sung by the bride and her family in the 7 days before a wedding. Songs about loss, future hardship, painful expectations of sex and birth - all delivered by a woman only this one time in her life and never again. This is a music within a culture that is now largely gone - diluted and disappeared.