Think Pieces: Improvisation and the Syrian Refugee Crisis
“Improvisation and the Syrian Refugee Crisis” is the newest in the series of Think Pieces. In this piece, Paul Watkins discusses the ways in which social and musical improvisation can teach us about the merits of creative risk-taking in relation to the current Syrian refugee crisis. Learning to improvise imbues citizens with the important notion that creative risk-taking makes for more exciting and, while unpredictable to a degree, egalitarian societies. Watkins posits that we can fight the insular mechanics of an improvisation of fear with an improvisation of hope that challenges the anxiety that refugees destroy borders and culture, as if these things are pure, static, given, unchanging, and authentic.
Paul Watkins is a former GRA with the ICASP & IICSI projects, and the former editor of Improv Notes. His SSHRC-supported doctoral dissertation (2015) is entitled Soundin’ Canaan: Music, Resistance, and Citizenship in African Canadian Poetry. Paul is Professor of English at Vancouver Island University where you can find him in his office listening to crackly jazz records, drinking green tea, and enjoying the pleasures of Island life.