Living Beyond Words: Post-human Reflections on Making Music With Post-verbal People


Arts & Health: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice




Background: This paper draws on a longitudinal ethnographic study of music-making with 'post-verbal' people: those with stroke, learning difficulties, acquired brain injury, dementias or autism. Methods: Using embedded observation, arts workshops, interviews with families and carers and focus groups with Music Leaders, the project traced how inclusive music-making happens with 'post-verbal' people. It used post-human theory to illuminate and explore processes and benefits. Results: This paper fuses the practical and theoretical aspects of making music with post-verbal people, to understand both how it happens, and, what it signifies. It shows how post-verbal people use music to communicate and demonstrate their capacities, and analyses how those working with them use music to foster a sense of inclusion and belonging. Conclusions: By writing in collaboration across academia and community music practice the paper makes new and important contributions to both post-human thinking and capacities in learning, arts and health. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Interviews; Music and Healing; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Stroke; Traumatic Brain Injury

Indexed Terms

music-making; stroke; learning difficulties; acquired brain injury; dementias; autism; post-human; post-verbal; Arts; Caregivers; Cerebrovascular Accidents; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Dementia; Ethnography; Learning Disabilities; Reflectiveness; Traumatic Brain Injury

Study Type

Ethnographic Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type