Gillian Howell's community music Asialink residency, 2010-2011.

Many Hands International was privileged to host Australian musician, composer, and creative director Gillian Howell on a 14 week Asialink arts residency between September 2010 and January 2011. During her residency, Gillian developed community music projects with local community members and organisations in Baucau and Lospalos.

In Baucau, Gillian worked with Marqy da Costa and colleagues from Afalyca Art School, local womens' group Centru Feto Haburas Desivolvimentu (see Gillian's photo at right), and school students. Together they created a performance 'Right to Play' for Human Rights Day in December. Download the media release or watch a video clip of the day: 'Distritu Baucau Celebra Loron Mundial Direitus Humanus'. Visit Gillian's website to listen to the song she and the women created describing their organisation and their hopes for the future.

In Lospalos, Gillian led formal workshops, performances and informal jams in a range of locations, including in a kindergarten, English language classes, the hill village of Kakavei, the ADM Convent, Community Radio Lospalos and her front verandah. She was supported in her work in Lospalos and Baucau by musician Tony Hicks (Australian Art Orchestra). In the last two weeks of Gillian's residency, musicians Lina Andonovska, Rachel Cashmore and Doug Coghill from the Australian National Academy of Music, where Gillian is Program Director, Community Engagement, joined Gillian and participated in her workshops and performances. Gillian's residency in Lospalos ended with a community Toka Boot (Big Jam) in the Merkadu Antigu in the centre of town, to which more than 500 people turned up.

To find out more about Toka Boot, Gillian and the musicians' experiences in Timor-Leste, read:

MHI thanks the supporters of Gillian's project including Arts Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts through Asialink at The University of Melbourne. The participation of musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music was made possible by ConocoPhillips and Darwin Airport Resort.  Instruments were provided by Optimum Percussion and logistical support was provided by Air North.

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