House of Europe Project - round up by Maddie Morris

By Kath Hartley


In February of this year, first year Folk student Maddie Morris took part in the House of Europe Project, an initiative which sees songwriters from four different international conservatoires coming together in Italy to work with refugees and asylum seekers on new pieces that promote the voices of those who are often unheard in times of conflict.

Here Maddie tells us what it was like when she went to the Conservatory of Music Luisa D'Annunzio, Pescara to work with three young Nigerians who, after being held captive, had found their way to Italy and were awaiting official documents that would allow them to remain in the country.


"I think what we did was important due to the social stigma attached to people with a 'migrant' or 'refugee' status, particularly in more privileged areas of society, there is a lot of prejudice and misconception.

Personally, whilst studying Folk Music at the conservatoire, I have already written multiple songs about this topic, so I came into the project thinking that I knew a lot. But I was so wrong! There is a huge difference between watching documentaries and being at a protest, and actually having a conversation and sitting down with people that have experienced migrating from awful circumstances."

"I think this was the case for many of the students, as often we'd finish a day of songwriting to go to dinner, where we would talk about what we'd found hard and what was difficult to hear.

By the end of the week we had all learned so much, and we will take this forward into our songwriting, into our lives and into our relationships with others. Moreover, being able to challenge those of our friends and family members, who have this stigma. 

I think as students, being part of this experience allowed us to open a discourse with members of our families, friends, peer groups etc. about the experiences of refugees. It's often with these small actions, stigma and stereotypes begin to be challenged, and this is how we begin to see big change.”


Maddie is a first year undergraduate on our BA (Hons) Music (Folk) pathway

By Kath Hartley

Tagged in:
Watch our Contemporary Pop Choir perform their beautiful interpretation of this spiritual song. 'Total Praise' was…
UoH-Logo.png (2) tef small.png QAA logo Conservatoires UK logo Partner_1.png AEC logo Roland logo prs-keychange-logo_red-blue_pantone-c (fine to use).png Luminate_Education_Group_Logo (small).png