Plenary Sessions
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As we complete the assembling of the Draft Programme for the Conference, what's emerged is the robust and confident engagement of music therapists with policy, politics and protocols swirling around us. Even five years ago - even two years ago! - many of us would have been daunted, alarmed, and felt uninformed, at the very least. 

This robust engagement is signalled by the three BAMT Conference plenary addresses. We deliberately invited speakers who will challenge what we think we know; and stand alongside us (but not too cosily) while we all absorb the landscapes and horizons in which - knowingly or unknowingly - much of our professional worlds are situated. 

As Chair of the Scientific Committee, it gives me enormous pleasure to announce our three plenary addresses. Emma Maclean, joined by Kate Pestell, share the first address, from Scottish perspectives. They are followed by Prof. Norma Daykin, who will talk from the perspective of arts and health research, evaluation and policy. Stephen Sandford, former chair of the APMT (as was), is uniquely positioned with his enormous strategic experience both within and beyond our profession, to propel our re-visioning forward, outward, and con brio. 

We very much look forward to seeing you in Glasgow. 

Prof. Mercédès Pavlicevic  
Chair of the Scientific Committee
BAMT Conference 2016

Plenary Addresses

Plenary Address 1 - Saturday 9th April

Lang may yer lum reek! (Lit. Long may your chimney smoke!)

Music therapy in a changing landscape

Emma Maclean, Lead Music Therapist, NHS Lothian and Lecturer in Music Therapy, Queen Margaret University, and Kate Pestell, Art Psychotherapist, Head of Arts Therapies, NHS Lothian

Many opportunities and challenges lie ahead for the arts therapies in Scotland as in the entire UK.  The integration of health and social care is creating unfamiliar infrastructures and different routes for commissioning at local levels. Funding changes are outlining updated restrictions and altered lengths of commitment.  The changing demographic, including an ageing population, growing health inequalities and increasing numbers of child and adolescent mental health difficulties, bring different health and cultural needs. The Scottish AHP Parliamentary debate (Scottish Parliament 2015), highlighted the need to consider; 'leadership, funding and workforce'.  How can the arts therapies continue to learn from listening to and examining the experiences of patients, therapists, other professionals, academics and strategists to meet contemporary needs and ensure the continuing growth of the profession?

Music Therapists can demonstrate that improvisation between individuals has extensive health benefits (Macdonald and Wilson 2014). An improvisatory attitude may well be needed in the wearing of our different hats to identify, interpret and influence political and strategic drivers; as Allied Health Professionals, Psychological Therapists or Arts in Health Practitioners. However, it could be said that there is a shortage of leadership.  The model of 'shared' or 'distributed' leadership (NHS 2012), highlights ways by which music therapists can be strategic, raise the profile and seize opportunities to inform, influence, create vision and deliver.  Considering a range of different working environments, the potential for developing the music therapy workforce should include partnerships and an increased distinction between clinicians offering direct services andconsultants offering indirect, cost effective services by advising, resourcing and training others (Maclean 2015, Pethybridge 2013). 

Plenary Address 2 - Saturday 9th April 

Creative and Credible: the challenge of co-production in evidencing and developing music and arts for health and wellbeing.

Professor Norma Daykin, Professor of Arts as Wellbeing at the University of Winchester and Professor Emeritus Arts in Health at University of the West of England.

Professor Daykin will critically examine the broader landscape of music and arts for health and wellbeing. She will draw on recent research and knowledge exchange to explore opportunities and challenges, particularly the challenge of evidencing the contribution of arts. How and when should arts be evaluated? Why is evaluation sometimes perceived as a burden? Who should conduct evaluation? What evidence do health commissioners really require? Is there a case for standard evaluation frameworks? Where does qualitative evidence fit in?

The key message is that effective coproduction is needed in order to include stakeholders, including service users, in developing sustainable, evidence-based projects and programmes. However, coproduction is challenging for several reasons. It requires time and resources in order to ensure that no-one is left behind or devalued. It requires new ways of working and introduces unfamiliar language, as well as technical knowledge and skills that may seem daunting. It requires a focus on the general and the translatable, as opposed to the uniqueness and specificity of arts practice. Finally, it requires collaboration and sharing, which can be a challenge in competitive funding environments.

Arts partners do not always feel that they have equal status in coproduction, and this can lead to a number of problems. Not least, in can mean that health and social care organisations overlook the value that creative processes can bring to evaluation. Despite these challenges, co-production does seem to offer a genuine way forward to support innovative, high quality, cost effective arts based health and social care.

Plenary Address 3 - Sunday 10th April 

Music Therapists - a small band with safety in numbers and stories - leading, marching and playing with the beat

Stephen Sandford, Music Therapist & Strategic Lead and Professional Head of Arts Therapies, East London NHS Foundation Trust

We’re a tiny profession; the number of music therapists in the UK hasn’t grown much, so how are we going to respond to the needs of all of those who could benefit from our input? In care and health provision we are faced with “having to do more with less,” (Kings Fund, 2014).  In contrast to this, social changes have brought much greater positive awareness of mental health and wellbeing - the appetite for offering and receiving innovative solutions and integrated support in these areas is increasing, (NHS, 2014).

What issues could music therapy face up to addressing in the coming five years to “re-vision our voice” and how can we “resource” effectively our input for those in need around us? Are the collaborations available to do this work compatible with the competition?  What values can help us along the way? Will the music just go on despite the ever-increasing cycles of changes we navigate and negotiate and endure…

This paper draws on evidence of numbers and stories – number of clinicians, numbers of sessions, numbers of posts, numbers within numbers and stories of the past and present, stories of growth, stories of success and stories of the challenge we face as perennially “small”.  In sharing these numbers and stories a strategic case will be argued outlining some options available for music therapy to develop and to keep moving forward in and outside of the beat.