Case study : Observing the World Music School Helsinki as a social ecological system to enhance community connectivity and resilience

Jian Chen*, Susu Nousala*, Timothee Landa, Pedro Aibéo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The World Music School community is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that teaches music and organises events internationally around dance and music activities. This case study investigates community connectivity and resilience development in the World Music School (WMS) Helsinki community of practice and the Shanghai WMS community of interest. Using a social ecological system approach, the community structures and relationships were explored and supported by the literature. In particular, the research focused on the feedback loops at different levels within each community structure. The WMS core activities are viewed as inclusive and human connectivity enhancers. Focusing on human connectivity, the research investigated the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the NGO's involvement in building its community structure as it revealed what is essential for community resilience. This research discusses how connections between shocks and disturbances within the community systems were identified and the various outcomes when identifying and approaching acute weakness within the community structures. This case study examines how the WMS communities enhance community resilience across a complex social system starting at the individual level and then extending to physically close environmental relationships. These complex community structures provided a lens to focus on identifying the initial stages for resilient community connectivity. Observing these connections provided a basis for developing a synthesised model based on discussions in previous literature reviews. The processes involved with the model development included the critical roles, impacts and evolution of the World Music School community. This article argues that systemic change can happen when small but fundamental changes are longitudinally obtained through bottom-up approaches. The WMS communities have displayed the potential to make a difference towards connectivity and subsequent community resilience, beginning with the individual and extending to the overall social ecological system level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-946
Number of pages12
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number5
Early online date30 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • community
  • community resilience
  • social ecological systems
  • systemic approach
  • systemic design


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