About us

Agrigento is an emergent organisation dedicated to advancing the field of music as social action.

What do we mean by “emergent”?

Emergent means we have opinions about what good music as social action looks like but we don’t have a singular vision and we don’t think we have all the answers. The first thing we did when we created Agrigento was to ask a dozen trusted colleagues in several countries what they thought good music as social action looked like, and we used their contributions as the foundation stone for the first phase of our work. We intend to be a listening and learning organisation and to build our vision in collaboration with others. We must also be responsive to major events like Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter. Emergent means Agrigento may look different in a year or five years’ time than it does now. 

There will be consistent threads to how we approach our work.

  • We seek to work with individuals and organisations that are: committed to developing innovative practices and ideas around music as social action; striving to realise the field’s goals and ideals more effectively; and willing to think critically.
  • We are interested in work that fills gaps in the field or challenges us and others to think and act differently.
  • We believe that music as social action will be strengthened by better connections between practice and research.
  • We aspire to build relationships of mutual trust and transparency, and to provide more spaces for open, honest discussion about successes, challenges, and failures.
  • We aim to make our processes as simple and “light-touch” as possible, so that those we fund can focus their energies on the work.
  • We are guided by equity principles that act as expectations of both ourselves and those with whom we collaborate. 

All around the world, music is being used as a means to pursue social goals. Music making is happening within, and in response to, contexts of socio-economic deprivation or conflict, or where social bonds have been ruptured through displacement, migration, asylum seeking, or refugee settlement. While activities vary enormously, they are commonly driven by concern with social cohesion, equity, or justice.

Mission

To support and promote work within the field of music as social action.

To strengthen connections between practice and research.

To create more space for critical conversations and sharing of knowledge.

Why Agrigento?

Agrigento takes its name from the family birthplace of our founder, Maria Falsone. The centuries-old city has been an historic meeting place for different cultures to gather under the Sicilian flag. Taking this as inspiration, Agrigento seeks to bring people together around three interwoven interests:

Listening

Supporting

 Sharing

Who we are

Director of Research

Professor Geoff Baker

Brief bio

Geoff Baker is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project “Music for social impact: practitioners’ contexts, work and beliefs.” He is also a founding board member of SIMM (Social Impact of Making Music) and a member of the scientific committee of the French music education program Démos. He trained as a musician at the Utrecht Conservatorium and the Royal Academy of Music and taught music before switching to musicology. He has been researching music in Latin America since 1996, with a focus on social action through music and childhood musical learning since 2009. He is the author of three books (with a fourth in the pipeline) and many academic articles and chapters. See https://geoffbakermusic.wordpress.com/ for more information. 

Coordinator

Louise Godwin

Brief bio

Louise is a cellist and researcher. She is a non-Aboriginal woman living on the unceded land of the Woi wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. Her research interests include cultural equity, participatory music-making, musicians’ identities and working lives, and music-making as socio-political action. Louise holds a Master in Education (Research), a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and has recently completed a PhD study examining the diversification of artistic activities by mid-career classical musicians. As an arts manager, she has held program coordination roles within tertiary music institutions, and worked in artist, project and concert management in the classical music sector.

Trustees

Maria Falsone, Chair

Tom Prew

Joanne Davies

Help us build the community

We’re actively building our network, so if you’re involved in music as social action as a practitioner or researcher and you’re interested in reflecting, learning, and sharing, please contact us – we’d love to hear from you.