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Keynote: Helena Gaunt

Helena Gaunt

We are proud to announce Helena Gaunt as one of our keynote speakers on the conference Connection, collaboration & co-creation - Ways forward for higher music education in November 2023

"Musicians as makers in society: supporting pathways to flourishing musical practices for the future"

This presentation aims to offer a fresh way of conceiving the foundation for specialist higher music education, one that engages both with core principles and values in professional music-making and with the turbulence and rapid change characterizing the music industries and wider societies. ‘Musicians as makers in society’ is a paradigm for higher music education, developed as part of the AEC’s project ‘Strengthening Music in Society’ funded by Creative Europe. It seeks to support the future of professional music practices in vibrant, inclusive ways, drawing extensively on collaboration and approaches to co-creation in music. It focuses on identifying a conceptual foundation for strategic development of institutional purpose, curriculum design and pedagogy, and indeed professional music practices.

The session will unpack the concept of ‘Musicians as makers in society’, considering both ‘musicians as makers’ and ‘musicians in society’, and it will explore the relationships of these elements to musical excellence as an underpinning value for higher music education. The session will then consider implications for practice in higher music education, exploring examples of the concept in action and their relationship to collaboration and co-creation, and highlighting some of the challenges of embracing and sustaining such paradigm reflection.

About Helena Gaunt

Helena Gaunt is a musician, author, and thought-leader on music education and professional practice. Having been a professional oboist for many years, and founding member of the Britten Sinfonia. Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) and a Professor, she sits on the Council of the Royal Philharmonic Society and chairs the advisory group for the National Music Service in Wales.

Recent publications include ‘Musicians as “Makers in Society”: A Conceptual Foundation for Contemporary Professional Higher Music Education’ (2021), and Expanding Professionalism in Music and Higher Music Education: A Changing Game (2021) co-edited with Professor Heidi Westerlund.

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