Kjetil Hjørnevik

PhD student

Kjetil is a music therapist with 15 years’ experience of working with men and women in places of incarceration, including in forensic hospitals in the UK and in the Norwegian prison service. Having trained in a psychodynamic approach to music therapy at Roehampton University, London, he has developed a practice that is resource-oriented and aligned with principles of Community Music Therapy. With a BA in Music from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and a MA in Music Performance from City University, he is now in the final stages of completing his PhD training at Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. He currently works full time as a lecturer in music therapy at The Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, Norway.

PhD Research Project

Kjetil’s PhD project is an ethnography of music therapy in a low security prison in Norway. As a practitioner-researcher he wanted to know more about the affordances of music for the prisoners. Therefore he took a step back from pre-conceived ideas of what music therapy in this setting should be, and explored musicking as an everyday activity in the prison through methods of participant observation, interviews and the collection of artefacts, and later including participatory and art-based strategies for research. Conceptualising the prison as a therapeutic music scene, the thesis shows how prisoners engaged in processes of musical change, and how he as a music therapist supported these processes. Through themes of identity, coherence and belonging the thesis links music therapy practices aligned with CoMT principles to research in the fields of criminology and desistance from crime. Supervisors are Prof. Gary Ansdell and Dr. Simon Procter.


Hjørnevik, K., Waage, L. and Hansen, A. L. (2021) Music-Prison-Life Stories; Exploring Coherence and Belonging in Music Therapy with Prisoners. Crime, Media, Culture. In press.

Gold, C., Due, F. B., Thieu, E. K., Hjørnevik, K., Tuastad, L. and Assmus, J. (2020) Long-Term Effects of Short-Term Music Therapy for Prison Inmates: Six-Year Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. doi: 10.1177/0306624X20909216.

Hjørnevik, K., and Waage, L. (2019) The prison as a therapeutic music scene; Exploring musical identities in music therapy and everyday life in a prison setting. Punishment and Society. 21(4), 454-472. doi.org/10.1177/1462474518794187

Gold, C., Assmus, J., Hjørnevik, K., Qvale, L. G., Brown, F. K., Hansen, A. L., … &

Stige, B. (2014) Music therapy for prisoners: Pilot randomised controlled trial and implications for evaluating psychosocial interventions. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 58(12), 1520-1539.


Profile photo of Kjetil Hjørnevik