Converge Music Research Project

The Converge Music Research Project is a bespoke research project commissioned by Dr Nick Rowe (Director of Converge)  from the International Centre for Community Music in February 2015.

Research Brief

The brief is to research:

  • The benefits of music within Converge
  • How ‘ benefits’ are understood across the experience of music for the facilitators and the participants involved in York St John Converge music courses
  • What is demonstrable to NHS and stakeholders


Lead Researcher: Dr. Liz Mellor
Research Assistant: Chris Bates

Research Design

This is a small scale study running February – July 2015 situated within a qualitative paradigm using a mixed methods approach. The research project as a whole is underpinned through the lens of Activity Theory (after Engeström 1987, 1999, 2001) and in music (after Welch 2011, Henley 2015).The research design, over three phases comprises focus group methodology, significant incident charting and in-depth interviews. Participants include CONVERGE Music Course facilitators, Converge Students and University students who take part in these courses on a regular basis.


Music Courses within Converge are central to the Arts Educational Programme. At this current time these courses include ‘Communitas’ Choir, Music Improvisation, Music Development and Music Discovery I (new entry) and Musical Discovery II (continuation).

Research Imperative

Converge Music courses continue to attract Mental Health Service users from the locality who are either ‘new‘ to Converge or ‘regular’ Converge students (ie to music and non-music Converge courses) within York St John. Music courses are facilitated by music staff, community musicians and undergraduates in music and occupational health. Converge course evaluations provide some information regarding the efficacy of Converge and the benefits to the life experience of Mental Health Service Users. Music participation within Converge has been the focus for undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations and a current Converge PhD studentship takes a broader perspective of the Arts in Mental Health with some reference to music. It was recognised that further research was needed in this area.