Music legends back project bringing the arts to conflict areas

Mercury Music Prize winners and hip-hop royalty have shown their support for The University of Manchester’s award-winning In Place of War project which brings music to the underprivileged around the world.

The award-winning project which supports artists and communities living in sites of conflict around the globe, celebrated its tenth anniversary with a special evening in London hosted by Sandie Shaw, Martyn Ware (Heaven 17) and Professor James Thompson.

On the night there were performances from the Mercury Music Prize winners: Young Fathers + Jon McClure (Reverend and The Makers) and the UK godfather of hip-hop Rodney P and MC Fallacy.

In Place of War Co-director Ruth Daniel, said: “The event was an incredible success which really helped raise the profile of In Place of War across the UK, with a room full of musicians, supporters and cultural producers.

“The endorsement of so many high profile musicians is testament to how strong and important the work is on the ground across the world. Having Mercury Music Prize Winners, Young Fathers, headlining the event was just a fantastic finale.”

In Place of War mobilises, empowers and connects artists and creative communities in sites of war, revolution and conflict, through the arts. The project supports artists and creative communities living in sites of conflict to build powerful networks, create social change through creativity and demonstrate the value of the arts to public space, public life and public debate.

It has developed a ground-breaking creative entrepreneurial programme which is certified by the University and is being delivered for free to local young people in communities in some of the most under-resourced parts of the world.

Ruth Daniel said: “In these communities, with little access to education, offering a free creative entrepreneurial programme with the certification of The University can provide transformative opportunities for up to 5,000 young people in each community every year.”

Alongside this programme, the project is currently working to develop four cultural spaces in challenging environments with little access to the creative arts: in Makokoba, the oldest township in Zimbabwe; in both Kisangani and Bukavu, in the middle of war-affected DR Congo; and Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro. The development of these spaces is directly influenced by successful international examples of cultural spaces that have transformed communities in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia.

In Place of War is recruiting support that will enable the project to develop and secure the required spaces (including building works, security, and decoration), support local staff costs for the coordination of the spaces, and to ship equipment to the locations. The project has already collected over £200,000 of music, studio and film equipment from musicians, TV studios and The University of Manchester.

Notes for editors

A short film about In Place or War can be viewed here.