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Staff Profile

Jo Gibson

PhD Researcher

Jo Gibson is a PhD researcher at the International Centre for Community Music (ICCM), York St John University. Her research focuses on the community musician’s role in music-making with participants, which she explored through a Practice as Research strategy. As a community musician, Jo has led music-making projects across the education sector, in community centres, health settings and for arts organisations including orchestras and galleries.

  • School – School of the Arts


Thesis title: Making Music Together: The community musician’s role in music-making with participants

Across the UK, community musicians support groups and individuals to make their ‘own’ music with the belief that this holds potential for transformative and empowering experiences. Consequently, music co-creation is a regular feature of contemporary UK practice.

As a UK community musician, my practice includes music co-creation. Through PhD research I explore my co-creative music-making with individuals and groups. Specifically, I zoom in on processes of invention and exchange in making new music together, to consider ways in which empowerment and/or transformation correspond with the practice of facilitated music-making. I undertook long-term Practice as Research in educational, community centre and adult recovery programme settings within England to consider:

  • In what ways do community musicians make music with participants? What are the processes, purpose and meaning? And what might this suggest about community music?
  • How is new music / new material generated in the music workshop and what is the community musicians’ role in this making?
  • To what extent is the creation of new music a collaborative endeavour between participant(s) and community musician(s)? What does this mean for notions of creating your ‘own’ music within interventionist frameworks, and to what extent does this support empowering and/or transformational experiences?

Jo was supported by a York St. John studentship.

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