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24th October, 2022

ResearchWorks: Whose social impact is it anyway?

GuildhallSchool Red

Event Details

24th October, 2022
18:00 -

The social impact of participatory music projects with marginalised groups is an increasingly active research field, with interest generally centred on understanding the potential—or lack thereof—of musical activities to advance social justice.

Addressing a range of social issues, the vast majority of research in this area analyses the effects of musical participation on members of marginalised communities, often identifying tangible impacts for those involved in these projects.

But what does this focus obscure? This presentation draws on interdisciplinary research with Sex Worker’s Opera, a sex worker-led community musical theatre project, to problematise contemporary approaches to studying the social impact of making music within marginalised communities. It proposes that, beyond asking how projects impact participants, we should be investigating how projects enable participants to engineer their own impacts on society more broadly.

The presentation highlights the activist possibilities of participatory music projects, the significance of marginalised-led artistic activism within social justice struggles, and the value of including affects—as well as effects—in assessments of social impact. Overall, it calls for recognition of participatory music projects as potential sites of artistic activism, and of the social impact that participants, through their creative work, have on others.

Speaker: Imogen Flower

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