S33: Blue Sky Highway: A workshop series for community music performance in the mental health sector.

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By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Helena Roennfeldt, Leah Cotterell

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Lived Experience, Recovery,Community, Culture, Society,Wellbeing,Reducing Stigma and Discrimination

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: This project is the crystallisation of two years of thought and discussion between a mental health researcher and a singer who share a lived experience of the impact of mental health challenges on an individual’s confidence, wellbeing and sense of identity.

Together, they propose that through speech and song we have capacities to connect to ourselves, to others around us and to wider audiences. Communication through speech and song can produce powerful feelings of agency, and when performed with skill, mastery. Creativity can open the door to new freedoms of thought, and the flexibility of creation allows us to reinterpret and reimagine our experiences in powerful ways. Through a focus on supporting strong artistic outputs this project offers participants and organisations new opportunities for showcasing mental health stories with impact and visibility.

The workshop series presents a well-defined, reproducible suite of interactive sessions culminating in an invitation to perform. The sessions focus on:
1. Sharing your stories with safety and purpose
2. Musicianship
3. Lyric setting
4. Melody writing
5. Vocal skills
6. Bringing it all together

Aims include:
· To set the creative bar high
· To support sustainable skills development
· To provide an opportunity to explore counter-narratives and renegotiate identities

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: To begin to explore potential benefits and possibilities for partnerships with professional musicians and artists.

Learning Objective 2: To be inspired to consider mainstream and professional performance opportunities to raise community awareness and reduce stigma.

Welch, G. F., Himonides, E., Saunders, J., Papageorgi, I., & Sarazin, M. (2014). Singing and social inclusion. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 803.
Von Lob, G., Camic, P., & Clift, S. (2010). The use of singing in a group as a response to adverse life events. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 12(3), 45-53.

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