€984k Awarded for Research into Music's Social Impact

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

€984k Awarded for Research into Music's Social Impact

Guildhall to lead international research into music and marginalised groups.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama has been awarded £984k by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a three-year long project to investigate the social impact of music. The research will involve an internal consortium of researchers led by Guildhall’s Professor John Sloboda. The project will commence in January 2020. 

‘Music for Social Impact: Practitioners’ Contexts, Work and Beliefs’ will examine the growing number of participatory music-making activities being offered to groups across the world, known as Socially Impactful Music Making (SIMM) activities. These activities focus on marginalised or excluded groups of people such as those living in poverty, conflict or social disruption, prisoners, and the homeless. 

The project will also look into the practitioners administering these activities. Interviews and case-studies will take place across the UK, Belgium, Finland and Columbia. The research ultimately aims to provide insights for future training, commissioning and funding, and creative development of best practice.

Commenting on the award, Professor Sloboda said: 

This substantial research grant allows us to collaborate with expert researchers in three other countries to develop a truly international understanding of the ways that professional musicians work for social impact in very diverse settings.

The research team includes Professor Heidi Westerlund (Sibelius Academy, University of Arts Helsinki), Professor Geoffrey Baker (Royal Holloway, University of London), Dr An De Bisschop (University College Ghent) and Dr Gloria Patricia Zapata Restrepo (Fundación Universitaria Juan N Corpas, Bogota). Co-funding for the project was provided by the International Platform for Social Impact of Making Music.

Lynne Williams, Principal of Guildhall, added:

This is the largest research grant made to the Guildhall School for research … As an institution we are focussed on the concept of the artist in twenty-first-century society and the roles and responsibilities of artists to make positive contributions to the lives of others. 

The project will be the first major research project of Guildhall’s new Research Institute for Social Impact, expected to launch in 2020, and which would eventually be based at the planned Centre for Music in London

For further information, visit: www.gsmd.ac.uk and https://ahrc.ukri.org.

Published on 27 June 2019

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