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How Inclusive Creativity is levelling the playing field between able and disabled musicians

Laura  Barnes
How Inclusive Creativity is levelling the playing field between able and disabled musicians

In 2015, Walled City Music, Drake Music and St. Magnus International Festival received funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to develop a pilot participatory project using ‘inclusive creativity’ as its driving principle.

The project brought together musicians and composers to research participant-led routes into collaborative music making.

Under the direction of professor Frank Lyons of Ulster University, an ensemble of disabled and non-disabled artists met regularly to improvise and compose music together, using assistive music technology (AMT) and more conventional musical instruments. This ensemble became Acoustronic.

Based in Derry/Londonderry and partnered with Ulster University, Inclusive Creativity is about using new creative technologies to allow disabled and non-disabled musicians to perform together on a level playing field.
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A specially-commissioned piece from Lyons, NonZeroSum, features twenty-minutes of carefully crafted music-making performing on electronic instruments and a traditional string quartet.

The tailored compositions tie-in with the musicians’ Ableton and Apple hardware, and as part of their academic research, they continue to develop instruments and software to enable a level playing field in performance for those with special educational needs.

Following a successful and well-attended performance at London’s Rich Mix on Tuesday 5th September, the group will perform next on 1st November at University College Dublin.

The concert will feature a number of new works developed by Postgraduate students at Ulster University especially for Acoustronic.

For more information about the project and the Rich Mix performance, visit

Tags: Drake Music , Inclusive Creativity , walled city music , st magnus international festival

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