Tapestry of Tears: An Autoethnography of Leadership, Personal Transformation, and Music Therapy in Humanitarian Aid in Bosnia Herzegovina

by Alpha M. Woodward

Institution: Antioch University
Department: Leadership and Change
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: European Studies; Psychology; Sociology; Bosnia, Herzegovinia, music therapy, leadership, humanitarian aid, war, atrocities, post-conflict societies, change , autoethnography, phenomenology, music therapists
Record ID: 2058060
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=antioch1425584421


In the fall of 2003 I was invited to lead a team of music therapists in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a country that had been recently savaged by two brutal inter-ethnic wars. The program operated out of the Pavarotti Music Centre on the East side of Mostar, a divided city in the southwest region of BiH. My journey over the next four years was epically challenged by my immersion into the complexities of post-conflict recovery, and the cultural confusion that followed the atrocities of those wars. Transformation and change not only characterized the world in which I worked, but also paralleled internal processes proceeding silently within me. As a music therapist I have always worked within a framework of cultural constancy. In post-conflict societies, we become involved in a colossal moving fray of change. This dissertation is an autoethnography that uses heartfelt, reflective writing with the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of my identity as a leader, as a music therapist, and as a cultural being in these sometimes difficult, but life-enhancing, four years. Together with academic perspectives and performative writing techniques, it explores a trail of thematic material that emerged during a confusing, ambiguous repatriation period in the years following my time in Bosnia. The autoethnography, an evocative expression of phenomenological research, is a conversation with "self" and with distant others who inhabit a time frame in the past, and thus informs an emergent narrative that carves its own path throughout the eight chapters. Ultimately, the dissertation aims toward a deeper understanding of my own culpability as a leader of a small multi-ethnic team in Mostar, BiH, and the implications this may have for arts-based fieldwork practice in post conflict regions. This dissertation is accompanied by seven supplemental files: 1 Mp4 video and 6 blog post pdf files. The electronic version of this Dissertation is at Ohiolink ETD Center, http://etd.ohiolink.edu and AURA http://aura.antioch.edu/