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Singing with conviction: New Zealand prisons and Maori populations

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Abstract:

This article describes the Singing with Conviction pilot project (SWCPP) facilitated by Arts Access Aotearoa in the New Zealand prison system in 200405. The pilot project was modelled in part on competitive prison singing groups in South Africa, with adaptations made for the New Zealand cultural context. The analysis proceeds in two steps. First, I describe the pilot project, placing it in relation to a more-encompassing arts strategy for marginalized prison populations. Second, I explore ethnic dimensions of the SWCPP related to New Zealand's Maori population, quantifying the disproportionate representation of Maori persons in New Zealand's prisons and summarizing recent efforts to incorporate indigenous Maori modes of punishment and dispute resolution within New Zealand's criminal justice system. I conclude with general reflections on how a prison choir project might better serve a bicultural population.

Keywords: Arts Access Aotearoa; Maori; New Zealand; biculturalism; prison choirs

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijcm.3.1.111/7

Affiliations: University of Iowa.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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