The Social Value of Music Conference

Monday 2nd – Tuesday 3rd December: The Greenwood Centre, Kentish Town, London

This innovative two-day cross-platform policy and research conference brings together policymakers, researchers, music practitioners and music industry experts to share best practice and research on the social value of music.

We are inviting delegates to collaborate and forge links between these fields, by engaging actively and critically with the existing evidence base alongside complementary experiences and perspectives, to address the question, “What is the social value of music – and how can this best be demonstrated within or alongside the current demand for metric measurements of impact?” We will seek to join-up thinking, discuss and interrogate the effects, impact and power of music, and its key benefits in educational, health, and community settings.

The conference will include talks, panel discussions and a wealth of networking opportunities. It will be of interest to socially engaged music practitioners (including music therapists, community musicians etc.), policymakers, researchers, service providers and funding bodies in the fields of the arts for social care, social change, health and wellbeing who wish to contribute, collaborate, develop their knowledge, and build their contacts and networks.

As a leading voice for music therapy, Nordoff Robbins anticipates that this conference will act as a launchpad for future collaboration and new research into the social value of music.

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Keynote speakers 

Professor Norma Daykin, an expert in the fields of the arts, health and wellbeing, from the Institute of New Social Research at the University of Tampere in Finland. Her research has spanned a wide range of topics, from the impact of hospital design on patient wellbeing through to the impact of participatory arts in mental health, primary care, community and justice settings.

Michael Dugher, the CEO of UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the recorded, published and live arms of the UK music industry. Michael took over as CEO of UK Music in May 2017 after stepping down as an MP. He had represented the Barnsley East seat for seven years, during which he held senior positions in the Shadow Cabinet including Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Invited speakers and panelists

Professor Gary Ansdell, Honorary Research Fellow in Community Music Therapy at the University of Sheffield, Senior Research Fellow at Exeter University, Professor at the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen, and a member of the advisory editorial board of the British Journal of Music Therapy, Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, Music & Arts in Action.

Dr Claire Flower, Music therapist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Her practice-led research on the Nordoff Robbins doctoral programme was based within the Child Development Service, and focused on understanding the complexities of practice and experiences within the music therapy ‘trio’ of child, parent, and therapist.

John McMahon, Senior Manager in Policy and Research at Arts Council England, and lead on Arts and Health, Criminal Justice, Loneliness and Homelessness.

Jimmy Rotheram, Music teacher, education advocate and top 50 Shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize.

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The call for papers ties into the conference theme of the social value of music. We welcome abstract submissions for papers on any aspect of this topic from academic researchers, policymakers, industry experts and music practitioners. We are particularly interested in, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Measuring the social value of music
  • Demonstrating the value of music to society
  • The social value of music therapy
  • The social and cultural links between different music professions
  • The role of education in developing the social value of music
  • Wellbeing and social value in music


Please submit an abstract of your paper of no more than 300 words including a title, abstract, keywords, author(s) and affiliation to no later than 30/09/2019. Papers will be 15-20 minutes followed by time for questions.

We are also interested in any innovative alternative modes of delivery other than paper presentations. Please contact us if you wish to discuss any ideas and suggestions that you might have.

Tickets and registration

Our early bird tickets are only £90 for this innovative two-day conference (£60 for students/ unwaged) til the end of August – after this full price tickets are available for £140 (£80 for students/ unwaged). Conference registration closes on 31 October.

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