We’ve just appointed two young postgraduate researchers Maddy and Carly to work on our new project ‘Making community through music in Spitalfields, London’. Over the next year, they’ll be observing the work of our Learning and Participation team and spending time with people taking part in our various educational projects.
There are two main areas of the research: the first will look at our work with Year 3 pupils in Tower Hamlets as they devise and present Takeover Festivals within their own schools; the second will explore how singing can facilitate community engagement in our new men’s multi-faith choir EastEnd Notes.
You can listen to what Maddy and Carly had to say here, or read the transcription below:
Hello both! Would you like to introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your backgrounds?
Carly: I’m Carly, I’m one of the new researchers on the Queen Mary University team. I am a French horn player and workshop leader. I finished my Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music last year and I actually trained as an Animateur apprentice, as it was called back then, with Spitalfields Music in 2007-2008, so I have a long relationship with the team.
Maddy: My name’s Maddy and I’m also one of the new researchers at Spitalfields Music from Queen Mary University. My background is actually in Geography – I studied Geography at Manchester University and then did a Masters degree at Lund University in Sweden more recently, which was in sustainability studies. That’s sort of what got me interested in community engagement.
Since then I’ve been working on community engagement work for renewable energy projects and different sort of small-scale energy work in Bristol, but now I’m quite happy to be working back in the cultural field…with community engagement but with a music focus, rather than a renewable energy focus. And I am a violin player in my spare time.
Can you tell us a bit about the project and what you will be looking at?
Maddy: So this project will be looking at the impact of the work of Spitalfields Music within the local community…and that’s focusing mainly on the schools where the festival project is being held and also the men’s choir.
The research will be looking at how that project brings together people of different faith backgrounds through the medium of music and how that helps to build community and also people’s relationship to place and their sense of place, and their place in the community.
What music inspires you?
Carly: I have such a wide range of taste in music as a musician and I think some of the music that most inspires me is the music of Benjamin Britten because I grew up in Suffolk and, for me, that’s a massive part of my environment. And I’m also a big fan of performing contemporary music so maybe Ligeti as well.
Maddy: For me, again I really am inspired by quite a wide range of music, from classical and contemporary through to electronic music and punk and lo-fi and that sort of thing, but I think very often, the things that inspire me are things with a very “D.I.Y.” ethic where people who are making the music are very passionate about it, and you can feel that and it comes through the music. It’s not necessarily the most professional, experienced musicians, but it’s people who really are passionate about what they’re doing. I find that really inspiring.