A phenomenal day of discussions and presentations all running quite close to time ended with a ceilidh in Portobello where we joined with people from the SEND Commission to dance the night away. The caller was clear, the tunes swung and the dances were fast and furious. Another lovely Scottish experience to share with our international colleagues. In an interlude we heard some lovely songs from this young man.
My day started with about 8 people taking part in a very simple musical meditation. A calm start which focussed on Chris's Shakuhachi. I have wanted to add this element into conferences so good to experiment here and see how it would work and who would want to join in.
First session was for everyone and was hosted by Lee Higgins. Line of Flight took us into the world of the International Centre for Community Music that he has formed in York and shared the work of 3 PhD students under his supervision. As he said, the study of community music practice is moving into new territory and we were very proud to hear Ruth Currie talk about the work she is doing with us in Morecambe. We struck really lucky with her!
From there the day split into parallel sessions with symposia, paper presentations and workshops. We heard from 'old' voices who have been doing this work for years and 'new' voices who are just stepping into it.Kathryn, Ruth and I presented our work 'Deeper Local' and asked questions of our people in a room decorated with paper bunting sharing the photos from a recent photographic project 'The Beauty of the Ordinary'. The pen portraits of 4 people from our history - Soo, Ashley, Tom and Keeley - were particularly strong as they so clearly showed personal change developing out of contact with our work.
Special moments for me after that included the singing led by Dave and Bex in one of the breaks, a story of research into music in Acute Hospital Wards for Patients with Dementia, a warm and truthful session led by Julie Tiernan that had women talking about the changes in their professional lives that had come about after having children and developing families and the fascinating discussions at the end of the day in my working group that was considering issues around practice and research.
And that was only day two.