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Image courtesy of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts

The Sydney Mechanics School of Arts are introducing a new lecture series in 2019, Speaking of Music. The series will present occasional lectures with guest lecturers examining music, its relationship to the world and its profound power to affect us – sometimes in surprising ways.

The first lecture will be “Speaking of Music and Democracy” presented by  Dr Wesley J. Watkins, IV, the Founder of The Jazz & Democracy Project, an innovative integrated music curriculum that utilizes jazz as a metaphor to cultivate a profound understanding of American democratic ideals.

About the Speaker

dr wesDr. Wesley J. Watkins, IV, is the Founder of The Jazz & Democracy Project® (J&D), a music integrated curriculum that utilizes jazz as a metaphor to bring American democracy to life, enrich the study and teaching of U.S. history, government, civics and culture, and inspire youth to become active, positive contributors to their communities.

“Dr. Wes,” as his students call him, first proposed such a curriculum as part of the Stanford University School of Education Undergraduate Honors Program. He conducted research for his undergraduate honors thesis at Oxford University where he engaged and learned from music educators at both local elementary schools and world renowned secondary institutions like The Bedales School, Eaton College, and The Yehudi Menuhin School.

After earning his Ph.D. from the International Centre for Research in Music Education at the University of Reading, England, Dr. Wes immediately applied his knowledge as an independent arts education consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area, working at the district, school, and classroom levels. He then spent three years working for education reform non-profits where he facilitated professional development for teachers, instructional coaches and administrators.

Dr. Wes is an avid music lover—particularly jazz and Afro- Cuban jazz—who loves to witness artists standing emotionally naked, transmitting their emotions to the audience, and modeling the best of what improvised music has to offer: a lesson in unity.

Now living in Sydney, Dr Wes is speculating on how these principles might apply to Australian democracy and Australian education.

You can find out more about this fascinating event here

When:    Tuesday 26th February, 6pm
Where:   Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Cost:      $15-20
Contact: 02 9262 7300