Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Carla Velázquez-García


The purpose of this community engagement project was to explore the use of music and imagery activities to support the racial-ethnic-cultural identity development of youth in a community music program. Using music, how do youth navigate identity development in their social-political-cultural context? The workshop structure and approaches were grounded in the liberatory approaches of Paulo Freire, with the aim of shifting power dynamics and expanding the critical awareness and consciousness of participants. In an unjust society in which marginalized groups are disproportionally burdened, the exploration and development of racial-ethnic-cultural identity and consciousness are protective factors and should be important topics within education. Six second-generation adolescents participated in eight workshops, which included music and imagery activities focused on participant-identified topics related to racial-ethnic-cultural identity: food, lifestyle, culture, traditions/cultural stories, music, language. Participants connected with emerging themes of family and heritage. The workshops offered space for a creative and expressive release during the Covid-19 pandemic and allowed participants to embrace and take ownership of artistic and developmental processes during challenging times in the world, inviting an unfolding exploration of and connection to one’s self, family, culture, and heritage through music. There are opportunities to further explore what music therapy-inspired liberatory approaches and experiences could support identity development both in educational settings and in clinical and therapeutic work.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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