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Psychosocial Sonic Mapping: Breaking the Cycles of Injustice in Music Education - A Phenomenological Creative Approach

Thursday 17 June 2021

10.00am - 1.00pm

Online via Zoom

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How do the ‘inner’ constellations of our sound and musical memories, listening habits and aural experiences resonate with the ‘outer’ soundscape of a world in crisis?

The pilot event for ‘Breaking the Cycles of Injustice in Music Education’ introduces a deeply reflexive approach to interrogating our musical influences, values and beliefs, exploring how these inform our work with children and young people in 21st century Britain.

It will be based upon the idea of psychosocial sonic mapping, which involves assembling fragments of the music, sounds and silences that have surrounded and shaped us from birth. Sonic mapping also considers our intimate relationships to sound objects and technologies (e.g. the voice, instruments, the body, radio), tracking and tracing the construction of our musical worlds through our homes, families and community spaces.

How can we use psychosocial sonic mapping to develop and practise radical empathy and to orient ourselves towards an evocative liberatory music pedagogy?

The session will involve critical reflection processes and prompts to examine our musical inheritances and sonic present, identifying and charting the relations of power, how it is reproduced in society and possible points of disruption to patterns of inequity.

Guest speakers will share vignettes and audio collages based upon their experiences and sonic maps, we’ll listen to music and sound together, complete creative exercises and participate in open dialogue.

  • How do our sonic maps influence our musical identities? What is heard and unheard?
  • What audible markers of citizenship, dis/ability, faith, gender, migration, race, class, sexuality and ethnicity are present in our sonic maps?
  • What can we learn from the ways in which we feel music and about the ways we’ve learnt to embody our musical influences?
  • How can we use our maps to unearth the sonic legacies of racism, colonialism, and ‘whiteness’? How do we listen to and respond to the echoes and reverberations of the past?
  • What can this process tell us about how injustice and inequality are perpetuated in music education and how can it transform our practice and pedagogy as musicians, facilitators and educators?
  • What does this mean for how we work with children and young people in and through music?

This event is for anyone working with young people through music whatever your role is; from teacher, practitioner, facilitator or youth worker to coordinator, producer, manager or director.

You will get the most out of it if you are very reflective and open to questioning your own influences and experiences.

The development of this concept has been significantly influenced by pivotal events of the past year. It takes an intersectional approach, looking at social justice through all lenses with ‘race’ as a central concern. With this in mind, we ask what does a world where Black lives matter sound like?

10.00am – Start
10.05am – Compass Points & Orientation (welcome and intro)
10.25am – Presentation: Mapping Sonic Whiteness (Eleanor Ryan)
11.00am – Presentation: Cartographical Cultural Chords (Davina Wilson)
11.15am – Bien-Aimise: Rhythmic Grounding Remix
11.20am – Break
11.30am – Tuning in to the Psychosocial Part 1: Call and Response – Live Sonic Mapping
11.40am – Corey in conversation with camoci (Dr. Corey Mwamba)
12.00pm – Panel discussion / Q & A
12.25pm – Break
12.35pm – Tuning in to the Psychosocial Part 2: Your Sonic Map
12.55pm – Wrap up and next steps for the Music & Social Justice Network
1.00pm – End

Book your FREE ticket>

Corey Mwamba

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Born and based in Derby, Dr Corey Mwamba’s commitment to jazz and improvised music in Britain and Ireland drives all aspects of his work, whether through making, presenting, promoting, or researching music. Corey predominantly plays vibraphone; and also plays dulcimer and uses audio processing software. He is recognised as a highly creative improviser and composer working across a wide range of jazz and contemporary music. Corey won a PRSF/Jerwood Foundation Take Five artist development award in 2007; was short-listed for the Innovation category in the BBC Jazz Awards in 2008; and received nominations for “Rising Star on Vibraphone” in the 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, and 68th DownBeat Annual Critics’ Polls. Corey ceased all live public performance on 23rd March 2019, as a protest against the experiences of racism and objectification in the British jazz+ scenes.

Corey is the current presenter of Freeness, a weekly show on BBC Radio 3. The programme plays adventurous jazz and improvised music from across the globe. Freeness was awarded the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group’s “Jazz Media” Award in 2020. He is also an adventurous programmer of new music in Derby, setting up One Note Sunday and The Family Album as well as programming Derby Jazz’s improvised music stream called 2ndline. Currently Dr Mwamba is the lead administrator of Out Front!, an East Midlands-based new music promoting/producing organisation. Corey was the artistic director of Derby Jazz from 2016 to 2020. He has held board positions for Derby Jazz, World Song Derby, Derby Cultural Diversity Arts Network, and Arts Council England (East Midlands); and is currently on the advisory board for Attenborough Arts Centre and a trustee of the National Jazz Archive.

Mwamba was granted an AHRC studentship for a Master of Research degree in Music at Keele University, for which he was awarded a distinction in 2014. Through this research, Corey developed new dark art, which is a notational and theoretical music system that takes early European medieval music practice as a starting point to create modern music. Dr Mwamba was recently awarded a doctorate in Jazz Research at Birmingham City University, which was funded by a Midlands3Cities/AHRC studentship.


Davina Wilson

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Davina Wilson is a qualified music therapist and has been working with children with learning disabilities for the past 15 years.  Her experience covers a wide range having worked in adult mental health, dementia and with diaspora groups.  She is currently leading the conversation in Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging within the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) and providing consultancy work for LeicesterShire Music Hub and Brass Bands England in areas of diversity and race.  She has recently led a webinar for her profession to examine the barriers to practice as well as open up the conversation about racial awareness.  Davina is currently affiliated with the University of Derby and University of the West of England as Associate Lecturer on their MA Music Therapy courses as well as working as a freelance clinician.  She also provides racial focussed clinical supervision.


Eleanor Ryan


New-Zealand born Eleanor Ryan is a violinist, educator and academic researcher. Her interests span intercultural and interdisciplinary performance, anticolonial, antiracist and feminist theories and their application in critical pedagogy and performance arts education. She has performed extensively with top UK orchestras and ensembles, and in the Caribbean as Principal violin of the Ibis Ensemble. She has collaborated in performance and composition with British-Trinidadian musician/poet Anthony Joseph, Saxophonist Jason Yarde, The Neal and Massey Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra, British theatre company Oyster Creatives and experimental film collective Neuf.

Eleanor holds a MMus with distinction in performance from the Royal Northern College of Music (2004) and an MPhil with distinction in Arts, Creativity and Education from the University of Cambridge (2020). Eleanor was Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, 2009-2018. She is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge, focusing on decolonising performance pedagogies in Higher Education. Eleanor is part of the steering committee of the Arts, Creativities and Education (ACRG) research group at the University of Cambridge and an active working group member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Music Studies (EDIMS) network.



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