April 2013, 412 words
Last November I wrote about what I saw as one of THE new big issues of note in Sistema land: the question of research and evaluation. Since then SERA (the Sistema Evaluation & Research Archive) membership has gone to beyond 60 people from about 15 countries and 4 continents, and grows weekly. And seemingly dozens of people are engaged in new research studies regarding El Sistema. Don’t get me wrong, it will be a while – I’m talking years – before most of these studies shows significant results. And we are going to have to be careful and rigorous in making sure that such research and evaluation is objective and suitably peer reviewed (and not simply a series of attempted justifications) of what Sistema work is really achieving or not achieving. Nevertheless things have moved on significantly during the last year.
In one way all of this is what you might call ‘small beer’. Because what we lacked up to now, is a plain audit of what is out there. Knowing from a simple catalogued listing, who has been, and is doing, research. Well it seems that that is all about to change following the very recent release from Sistema Global. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a copy of the announcement. It seems that there is a new player in the field …
“Sistema Global is delighted to announce that it has commissioned a Literature Review of Projects Inspired by El Sistema. An international team of music education researchers led by Dr Andrea Creech, of the Institute of Education, University of London. Together with colleagues from McGill University in Canada and the Autonomous University of Chihuahua in Mexico, the IOE researchers will be reviewing the many academic journal articles, evaluation reports, dissertations and policy documents that have been produced on Sistema programmes outside Venezuela in recent years. The Review is expected to be available in early July. For further information or to contribute to the research contact Andrea Creech. “
Now that, is what I call progress. Thank you Sistema Global, the Institute of Education, London University, and Dr.Andrea Creech and her team. We look forward to a research base line. Then we can really move on to identifying the areas of research provision that are lacking. As for that killer piece of research I mentioned last November, well the game is still open on that one. Small steps maybe, but as they say … small steps are better than small beer.