Plymouth University and Plymouth Music Zone have been awarded more than £150,000 to explore the potential of music making to enhance the lives of people impacted by dementia, autism, strokes and other conditions which affect their communication.
The two organisations have received funding from the Arts Council Research Grants Programme for a two-year project, titled Beyond Words: The non-verbal/unspoken in inclusive music practice: implications for the Arts in a post-human world.
It will see researchers from the University’s Institute of Education and practitioners from the Devonport-based charity working together to explore how people with limited verbal communication are helped by, and included in, music making.
As well as analysing the impact on individuals, the project – which starts in June – will also involve families and carers and other agencies such as social workers and teachers.
The results will be shared at an international conference – Privileging the Unspoken in Arts Practice for a Post-human world – to be held at the end of the research, which will also allow researchers and practitioners from across the Arts to explore how they can work with those who are non-verbal.
Plymouth Music Zone’s Executive Director, Debbie Geraghty, commented: ‘Over the past few years at Plymouth Music Zone we’ve seen first-hand the powerful impact of using music to reach out and really connect with so many people affected by a whole range of health conditions or challenging circumstances that can so easily make them feel cut off from the world around them. This research programme is a tremendous opportunity to show the value of music acting as a potential lifeline for those who cannot or do not speak.”