In December 2011 Music In Detention arranged a collaborative songwriting project with detainees from Dover Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) and Dover Youth HQ Centre. This album tells a story of the music, poetry and interviews that were shared and delivers a message of unity to the town of Dover and to communities across the world.
Participants at Dover Youth HQ talked about the climate of fear in the aftermath of the riots in the UK in August 2011. Some of the detainees in Dover IRC were able to identify with the feelings of stigma and misunderstanding. From this position of commonality, participants united to send a message of empathy and community through creative expression.
The project was delivered on behalf of Music In Detention by Music for Change and facilitated by Kevin Davidson, Lucky Moyo and Téa Hodzic, who acted as messengers in a 6 day exchange between the two groups, who were not able to meet in person. Recording at Dover HQ took place on Kevin Davidson's portable recording equipment. The songs at Dover IRC were recorded in the thriving studio run by the music teacher, Jonathan Russell, with additional contributions from music teacher Clive Fletcher. Special thanks are due to two of the detainees, Hasiimu Mutoni and Leon Panter, who contributed tracks of their own to the project. Huge thanks also go to Jenny Luddington together with Stefan Walters, Tina Seager, Patrick De-La-Mere and James Mason who work so brilliantly with the young ppeople at Dover Youth HQ.
The project is already showing signs of a strong positive legacy. Young people at Dover HQ are enrolling in music recording training and the Centre is looking for funding to develop professional music facilities on-site. Michael, one of the participants at Dover Youth HQ, wants to offer his time and support to detainees in future through the Dover Detainee Visitor Group.
Thanks also to Emily Yates from Music for Change and John Speyer, Liza Figueroa-Clark and Zoe Burton at Music In Detention for their continuing hard work, support and dedication in ensuring that these projects can take place.
"Each Community Exchange project we do yields something new, in terms not only of the music created, but also the reactions of the participants. Normally these sessions will provide food for thought - a new perspective on something previously encountered only through the filter of the national media or party political rhetoric. The special feature of this project is that it has inspired some of the Dover Youth HQ participants not just to give some thought during the project to the people in the building on top of Western Heights, but actually to find out what goes on there, who is held there, and to meet some of the detainees in the future."
Jonathan Russell, Music teacher, Dover IRC
"Working with MID has been a fabulous experience. We work with young people from diverse backgrounds and the project has really helped bring people together, encouraged diversity, integration and team work. Young people have also developed a greater understanding of asylum issues. The project has left a lasting legacy. We are currently developing training programs in music technology to enable young people to have greater access to music provision."
Jenny Luddington, Dover Youth HQ