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Tbilisi, Georgia: The Community Music Conference Begins

Community spirit. Creative space. Inspiration.

Nicola Stanton, (soundLINCS Programme Officer), shares her experiences of the city Tbilisi, Georgia, home to the Community Music Activity – Pre-Conference Seminar 2018.

On arriving in Tbilisi several things jump out, this is a capital city with a much slower, more relaxed pace of life.

Citizens are very friendly and eager to help especially when it comes to finding your way around. There is a real mixture of architecture here, grand modern curvaceous glass buildings mixed with large soviet apartment buildings, peppered with French and Italian style balcony town houses. Flea markets line the streets selling traditional crafts giving an insight into how important tourism is to the local community. As a large capital city, Tbilisi does very well at embracing a community spirit.

The Fabrika hostel is hosting many of the Community Music Activity (CMA) delegates. The building is a bohemian reclaimed soviet factory covered in street art with a wide courtyard full of art bars, cafes and a business hub for arts sector entrepreneurs. Functional, urban industrial decor features throughout the complex further increasing the feeling of a modern creative space full of inspiration. There is a rich culture of community here making this the perfect place to hold a community music conference!

This is a place that has been re-purposed through creative passion and dedication, rising out of an oppressive history to make something beautiful. This alone embraces the ethos embedded within community music, an inclusive vibrancy that celebrates individuality and personal agency over a prescriptive and often restrictive route into music education.

There is a great crossover too of both honouring heritage and building a future full of forward thinking progressive experimentation and expression. There is never just one way to do anything and Tbilisi, Fabrika and community music definitely have this in common!

Tbilisi offers a rich culture to explore and, alongside many other national music practitioners and scholars, there will be plenty more community music adventures to follow this week!

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