York St John wins joint AHRC grant with Royal College of Music

Published: 24/01/2017

York St John University and The Royal College of Music have won a joint bid for £44,264 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Music students at YSJ

Music students at York St John

The research project, entitled Excellence, Inclusion and Intervention in Music, is led by Professor Lee Higgins, Director of the International Centre of Community Music based at York St John University and Jennie Henley, Area Leader for Music Education at the Royal College of Music. Both have a background in community music and music education.

Community music, whilst difficult to define, can be described as music that occurs outside formalized institutions and partnerships or outreach programs between schools and professional music organisations.

By establishing a network of music educators across the world, the project will explore the meaning of the terms ‘inclusive’ and ‘excellent’ and redefine what this terminology implies in the field of community music.

Professor Higgins, President of the International Society of Music Education, said he hoped the project would challenge a perception that inclusive music is mediocre and that excellent music is exclusive.

“Much of the current rhetoric surrounding musicians’ working practices is centred on the notions of inclusion or excellence and for musicians, these terms may mean different things depending where they are working. At a time when community music programmes are blossoming at undergraduate, postgraduate taught and doctoral levels, we want to explore these two key concepts in the field of community music and music education”.

The project concludes with a symposium at the Royal College of Music and a conference at York St John University, where the new network will be located within the recently-established International Centre of Community Music.

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