Between August 2012 and January 2016, Lukas Pairon did fieldwork for his PhD-research in Kinshasa, DRCongo, on possible social impacts of music making (SIMM) for young people who were previously members of violent gangs or so-called ‘witch’-children living in the streets of the city.
He defended his PhD-thesis – title: Music Saved Them They Say – on 7th June 2019 at the University of Ghent (Department of Political and Social Sciences, Conflict Research Group), and is now Doctor in the Political and Social Sciences.
You can download his PhD-thesis here: PhD-thesis © Lukas Pairon
In 2022 he gave a TEDx-talk during which he shortly touches on the main finding of his research (you can find his TEDx-talk here).
Following his PhD, Lukas Pairon wrote a book (in English) for practitioners (musicians and social and community workers) and researchers interested in finding out what we can learn from the case-studies of music in social work in Kinshasa (DR Congo). Preface to his book is written by Professor John Sloboda. The hardcover version of the book is published by Routledge and is – together with the eBook-version – released in June 2020 (see link here). The paperback version of the book was released in 2022 (ISBN: 9780367500184). And here are some first endorsements on the book:
It has been a notable feature of Pairon’s approach to his research that it has been conducted with and for his participants. Their voices are so vivid, brought to life with a plethora of detailed quotes that one can almost feel present in the room as they make and discuss their music. In this way, the book is also a tribute to the persistence, engagement and courage of the people in these projects, who can be proud that their work is now exposed to a global audience, not just of researchers but also to practitioners round the world who could learn from and be inspired by these hitherto unknown projects. Accordingly, the language of this book is accessible and non-technical to promote maximum engagement. (John Sloboda, Research Professor, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, UK)
Lukas Pairon has given us an exhilarating and incisive read, in which he systematically dismantles the many myths that glorify notions of music’s ‘magical powers’ to change lives; replacing them instead with insightful, analytical assessments, allowing the voices of the participant musicians themselves to be heard in more ways than one. Through the process, he powerfully demonstrates how music can realistically change people’s lives: in ways that are both limited but also profound. The book is very moving, but never sentimental: one of the best accounts of music’s real transformative capacities that I have come across. (Lucy Green, Emerita Professor of Music Education, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK)
I want to congratulate Lukas Pairon on this important work. It is very beautifully but objectively written. No overt speculation, which makes the case even stronger. (pianist Saleem Ashkar – www.saleemashkar.com)
first reviews of book:
– on website klassiek-centraal.be (in Dutch)