My research interests in community music are as follows:
The role of music in Canadian Truth and Reconciliation efforts. My current research project explores the Native American flute as an instrument of reconciliation. The project involves Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students as well as Indigenous and Non-Indigenous flute makers in creating a flute circle, which will be held weekly at the Wilfrid Laurier University Indigenous Student Centre. This effort responds to Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada call to action #83, which calls for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process.
Intercultural contemplative arts. Contemplative practice is a key foundational principle of community music and while important for all aspects of the field, it is essential in intercultural music practice. I am currently developing a new course for the human relations minor in spiritual care at Martin Luther University College on Restorative and Contemplative Arts Practices. The curriculum combines poetry, calligraphy, music and movement to create and support essential self compassion practices for social workers, psychotherapists, community music therapists and other care givers.
Intercultural musical ethics. Intercultural musical ethics has been a principal field of interest for decades. I have given numerous presentations and published in the area of cross-cultural ethics, world musics, and related fields. The framework of community music opens a gateway to practical ethics from a variety of social and cultural systems. Explorations of musical ethics are ongoing and include a long-term book project evolved from early work in cross-cultural music ethics. I am also particularly interested in practices of intercultural and interfaith improvisation using the theoretical framework of creating and holding ethical space of engagement (Poole, 1972; Ermine, 2007; Laurila, 2018) to enable people to co-create new art and cooperate musically across linguistic, faith-based, and cultural boundaries.