Catherine Birch

PhD Community Music

Thesis title: Emerging Voices: An interrogation of vocal pedagogy and songwriting in community music, enabling participants from marginalised communities to have a voice

This research project aims to focus on and interrogate the processes and practices from conception through to the birthing and growth of a community music project, using the lens of vocal music and songwriting with marginalised communities. The key question is as follows: How does Community Music (specifically working with the voice and songwriting) enable marginalised and underserved communities to find their voice?

Using research methodologies and engaging in practice, it is my intention to explore the voice, both as a musical and a social concept, and the impact when someone loses their voice (physically and metaphorically). I will investigate what is is about community music and the facilitation process that can be instrumental in enabling someone to rediscover their voice, and by extension, their identity, self-worth and sense of belonging. Drawing on the theoretical framework suggested by François Matarasso (2013), I will interrogate the idea of quality in the creative process and how this impacts a new project. 

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