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Research Shorts: Imagining the kind of world we wish to live in

6th December 2023

Dave is wearing glasses, he is wearing a black top. He has a bald head and a black necklace.

This week I’m chatting with Dr Dave Camlin, community musician, lecturer in music education and songwriter. His new book Music Making and Civic Imagination: A Holistic Philosophy, makes the case for music making’s potential, to ‘be a resource for both imagining and inhabiting the kind of world we wish to live in’.

The book explores music’s ‘potential as a resource for sustainable development’. Dave explained ‘the book makes the argument that when we make music together, we activate the kinds of values – love, reciprocity, democratic justice – that are necessary to shape a more sustainable human future on an increasingly fragile planet’.

I asked Dave who the book will be important for, and he told me ‘I hope this book will inspire musicians and educators who want to use music to change their world’.

‘As a resource for living more sustainably, music making is a uniquely human activity that we need to mobilise to help us traverse this complex period of human history to a brighter future.’

Dave’s background has really informed the book, he explained ‘I’m a singer / composer / educator based in a very rural community in the north of England, and my research has grown out of trying to make sense of my professional practice.’

I asked what was next, ‘you can find out more about my research on the Royal College of Music website. I’m also guest editing a special issue of the International Journal of Community Music on the theme of Music Making and Sustainable Future which will be published in summer 2024.’

Read more about Dave’s research on his staff profile at the Royal College of Music. You can find the book through the publisher, Intellect and on the usual online bookshops. (Academic books are generally priced a bit higher as they tend not to print so many copies, so if you want to access it the best way might be through interlibrary loan).

Interview by Dr Sarah Whitfield – Research Lead for Music Mark

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