The Inner Music and Wellbeing Network

Partners and collaborators

Elysium Theatre Company and The Sleep Charity


Imagining music in one’s head is a common experience. Yet little is known about how this aspect of our shared humanity relates to our wellbeing.

‘Musical imagery’ is the academic term used to describe a mentally generated representation of musical sound. The Inner Music and Wellbeing Network is designed to explore the range and significance of musical imagery and wellbeing experiences. To achieve this, the network will generate new knowledge about musical imagery and wellbeing by joining across disciplinary boundaries for the first time, and broaden understanding of how musical imagery plays a role in the lives of different communities.

The network will promote exchange between people researching clinical and non-clinical manifestations of musical imagery and develop knowledge about their interrelationship. One applied objective is to work collaboratively to identify treatment and prevention ideas for those who experience intrusive musical imagery, and conversely to develop the intentional use of musical imagery as a beneficial intervention (e.g. as a positive distractor, to aid sleep).

This collaborative project is led by Dr Freya Bailes from the School of Music and Dr Kelly Jakubowski from Durham University, with academic network members based in Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA and non-academic partners Elysium Theatre Company and The Sleep Charity.

Themed events will stimulate discussion from arts, humanities, social science and clinical perspectives. The network’s activity is driven by questions such as:

  • What cultural differences exist in how we feel about musical imagery?
  • What can musical imagery researchers in different areas learn from and with each other about imagination and wellbeing?
  • What opportunities exist for arts and humanities researchers to collaborate with clinical practitioners to support people who suffer from intrusive musical imagery
  • How do individuals in different communities support their wellbeing through the intentional use of musical imagery?