"Shout to the people the reality, and they dance it!"
- A case study on the synergies and challenges between music, youth empowerment, sustainable development and social change in the Gambia 

BA thesis in Music & Learning, Luleå University of Technology
I started studying music at Luleå University of Technology in 2005, and I finished in 2016. You can call it long overdue, but I call it just in time! The reason I say that is because I would not have been able to write this thesis at that time, and for me it was more important at that time to find a different path in terms of my academic path, which I am happy that I did. With a BSc in International Health and an MA in Communication for Development, I was able to give music a different perspective.

If you are interested in reading the thesis in its entirety, you can find it on Academia.edu.
This case study examines the role of music and music-making for the youth in Brikama, theGambia in terms of freedom of expression, sustainable development and social change. The study is situated within a project where young musicians with different backgrounds wrote and recorded their own songs during workshops with established musicians. The data was collected via interviews with the participants and instructors, observations and song analysis.The study uses Small’s (1998) theory of musicking  to analyze the meaning of the musical events in the social context. Furthermore, it uses theories on the relationship between music and sustainability to analyze the role of music for the youth on an individual-, group- and societal level, but also on an organizational level. The study finds that on all four levels music and music-making holds many of the characteristics required for sustainable development and that it can foster resilience through creativity. However, it also shows that this requires the creation of inclusive spaces with an awareness of the cultural narrative and forces (such as limiting traditional values and gender issues) that might limit the capabilities of individuals, and the society, to reap these benefits. The study also shows how music, with its artistic characteristics, can offer pockets of freedom of expression to a certain but limited extent. Finally, the study shows how music can and should be incorporated more extensively by organizations working for sustainable development and social change, both as a tool to achieve other sustainability agendas, but also for the inherent characteristics of resilience and creativity that is found in music-making itself.