In 2024 Britten Pears Arts are exploring the theme of Compassionate Communities in relation to end of life, grief, and loss across all strands of our activity. Working closely with St. Elizabeth Hospice we are planning a series of activities and music programming to help build compassionate communities, to acknowledge the major but under-recognised, the least spoken about, and the often-overlooked human experiences in all communities of serious illness, ageing, dying, caregiving, and loss. We plan to explore this through music programming, community work, heritage and archive, volunteering, training, environment, and visual arts.

We recognise that music plays a vital role in processing grief and giving voice to the expression of loss. In this ThinkTank we brought together leading artists, practitioners, and thinkers to explore the role of music and the arts in this process. Our discussion embraced a wide range of perspectives, stimulated fresh thinking, and generated ideas to take forward in the future.

Music does not conform to the scientific language of outcomes and risk, it is a template for offering connection, interaction, possibility – it is a gestural language. Music is a gesture of reaching out.

In attendance:

  • Facilitator Katherine Zeserson
  • Emily Levy (Composer/musician, part of Me Without You)
  • Dr Guy Peryer (Senior research fellow, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration – East of England)
  • Joe Sawyer (Consultant in Palliative Care, St Elizabeth Hospice)
  • Gary Ansdell (Music therapist/researcher, Exeter University)
  • Phillipa Anders (Coach, advisor, volunteer, writer)
  • Dr Hazel Harrison (clinical psychologist)
  • Tom Herring (Artistic director, Sansara)
  • Alistair Comery (PhD student, graduate research assistant – University of Bath)
  • Dr Helen Loth ( Music Therapist, Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research & Arthur Rank Hospice, Cambridge)
  • Angie Lee-Foster (Producer for Creative Health, Britten Pears Arts)

Click on a profile below to watch a video with the participant.