Dr Freya Bailes to lead research linking imagined music to well-being

Dr Freya Bailes has been awarded funding to develop interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the range and significance of musical imagery experience in people’s lives.

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 well-being.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has awarded funding for the Inner Music and Wellbeing Network.

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.

What is musical imagery?

‘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 well-being 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.

Events to discuss musical imagery

Themed events will stimulate discussion from arts, humanities, social science and clinical perspectives. The network’s activity will be 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 well-being?
  • 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 well-being through the intentional use of musical imagery?