Musøc – AHRC Music & social intervention network
Nearly all current rhetoric surrounding musicians’ working practices in contemporary society is centered on the notions of ‘inclusion’ and/or ‘excellence’. For the musician who makes active interventions in multiple situations, ‘excellence’ and ‘inclusion’ may mean different things depending where they are working. Understandings of ‘musical excellence’ may well vary between contexts such as prisons, schools, youth orchestras, pupil referral units, settings related to special educational needs and disabilities, healthcare or ‘extra care’ settings for the elderly, and social justice programmes. Similarly, ‘inclusion’ may be interpreted differently depending on the social setting: a programme for children with specific disabilities may have very different aims to one in a pupil referral unit. This can be problematic for practitioners who navigate between settings and tensions can arise when a musician’s concept of ‘excellent inclusive practice’ is different to that of the service provider; this could quite easily lead to a musician’s career becoming unsustainable.
This Network brings together scholars engaged in a broad variety of research that focusses on musicians who provide active interventions within the fields of music therapy, community music therapy, community music, music education, music and health, music and wellbeing, and music and rehabilitation, in order to initiate dialogue, to identify areas of both conceptual difference and synergy, and to help develop a more holistic epistemology for this fast-emerging field.
Through exploring a series of research questions, the networks objective is to foster debate, inspire dialogue and create new discourses surrounding excellence and inclusion within music interventions.
Our aims are:
1. Identifying different constructions of excellence and inclusion from the perspective of different fields of study that intersect community music;
2. Subjecting these constructions to critique in order to question and challenge the way they are interpreted through research, and how they affect practice;
3. Developing a set of concepts built on new, shared definitions of ‘inclusivity’ and ‘excellence’ across the many different fields of interventionist musical practice that can inform and drive both practice and research forward.
Three public events provide an opportunity for those working in the field to meet and discuss issues surrounding excellence and inclusion. The events are free. Doctoral student travel bursaries are available for the first two events a food and drinks available after the debates.