Music and Mental Health: Co-Creating Culture – Liverpool October 2023

Georgina Aasgaard works between the University of Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Georgina’s CIP research draws on her many years as a participatory music-maker, working with a variety of communities exploring the benefits of music for health and wellbeing. This work is undertaken as part of the Music and Health programme that is run in partnership between the Liverpool Philharmonic and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. The Music and Health programme has just celebrated its 15th year, an example of the value and return of long-term investment in creative collaboration with communities.

Georgina and her supervisors Dr Jacky Waldock and Prof Josie Billington shared insights from evaluating the Music and Health programme, as well as Georgina’s hopes for her CIP research. This included advocacy for the unique approaches taken by these partners to foster connection and co-creation with their communities, and the key elements that have made the programme such a successful one, but also to uproot the challenges that might be uncovered by Georgina over the next year.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra showcased their involvement in the CIP research through a staged rehearsal ahead of a performance later that night. Nicola Hopson and Zoe Armfield from the learning team outlined the importance of programmes like the CIP Pilot in opening up orchestral music to wider audiences, and in connecting local communities to what might be an otherwise intimidating spaces and culture, as well as exploring the value of music in relation to health and wellbeing. The root of this partnership was planted in 2008, during Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year, when Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust invested in a series of cultural partnerships. Since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength and the team are now exploring how it could be scaled up and delivered in other communities. Georgina’s CIP research has the potential to inform our understanding of the role of the creative practitioner in these partnerships, particularly as models of social prescribing and community care become more prevalent.   

Over the coming months, Creative Communities will share a blog from each of our Community Innovation Practitioners detailing their individual research. Visit our CIP webpage for more information.


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