Professor Geoff Baker is a co-investigator on the project, which has been awarded £984,000 by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.
'Music for social impact: practitioners' contexts, work and beliefs' will be a three-year investigation, scheduled to begin in 2020. It is an international project, to be led by Professor John Sloboda OBE at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, in partnership with Royal Holloway's Professor Geoff Baker and other co-investigators: Professor Heidi Westerlund (Sibelius Academy, University of Arts Helsinki), Dr An De Bisschop (University College Ghent), and Dr Gloria Patricia Zapata Restrepo (Fundación Universitaria Juan N Corpas, Bogota). Co-funding for the project has also been supplied by the International Platform for Social Impact of Making Music.
From the Guildhall School's press release:
The research will examine the growing number of participatory music-making activities being offered to groups around the world, defined by factors such as their social needs or deprivation. These Socially Impactful Music Making (SIMM) activities focus on marginalised or excluded groups such as in regions of poverty, conflict or social disruption, people in prison or those who are homeless, and assist participants to perform music for its intrinsic value, as well as helping them to achieve defined social goals such as inclusion, empowerment, community building and activism.
Professor Geoff Baker joined the Music Department at Royal Holloway as a Lecturer in 2005, having previously served here as a Leverhulme Research Fellow. His research has focused on music in Latin America, with his publications including the books Imposing Harmony: Music and Society in Colonial Cuzco (Duke University Press, 2008), Buena Vista in the Club: Rap, Reggaetón, and Revolution in Havana (Duke University Press, 2011), and El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela's Youth (Oxford University Press, 2014). Most recently, he was awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship from 2017-19 to work on music, citizenship, social development, and urban renewal, during which he spent a year carrying out fieldwork in Medellín, Colombia.