Code Listen

Music for Healing and Dialogue

Code Listen is a civic arts project using the transformative power of creative music and music performance to support healing and dialogue on gun violence, race and law enforcement practices for Boston residents. Led by violinist and composer Shaw Pong Liu who initiated the project in 2016 as an Artist-in-Residence with the City of Boston in collaboration with the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, the Boston Police Department, and community organizations including the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute Teen Empowerment and the Mattapan Teen Center.

The Code Listen ensemble has developed through several series of workshops from a citywide police ensemble (2016) to an ensemble of police and teen artists (2016),  to a group of police, teens and homicide survivors (2017) who create original songs together, build relationships and dialogue, and perform for audiences across the city.

In the fall of 2017, Code Listen ensemble of police and teens grew to embrace several new members (5 mothers and 3 teens) from Legacy Lives On, a network of homicide survivors.

Workshops for Police and Teens

Over the summer 2016, musician Shaw Pong Liu led two series of song-writing and creative music workshops for police officers and teens to share their personal experiences and build mutual understanding around challenging topics of gun violence, racism, and law enforcement practices.

The first series was 7 workshops with BPD musicians from districts around the City and musician-teens from Teen Empowerment and the Mattapan Teen Center in late July and early August, leading up to 4 community performances.

The second series was a 5-day intensive in August with 7 B-3 Mattapan officers and 15 youth, with co-teaching artists Herman Hampton (Berklee School of Music) and Willie Jones, Jr. (South End United Methodist).

Both series included guest lectures on racism and racial justice by Dr. Atyia Martin, City of Boston's Chief of Resilience and Racial Equity, and draw from Teen Empowerment's strategies for police-youth dialogues.


Debut performance of Code Listen Citywide Police Band at Jamaica Plain Porchfest July 9 2016. Five members of the Boston Police from five districts and Boston Artist-in-Residence Shaw Pong Liu perform. More info at: