Music is universal, and one of the most popular forms of art nowadays. All cultures listen to music. Music is as old as human history. It has the power to take us on a journey to the world around the artist, but also within the artist – it can be easier to share feelings and emotions through music. For this reason, some artists use their music production to talk about the mental health challenges they have experienced – since music can support understanding and acceptance.
Recently, societal changes have supported new routes into the music scene for a greater diversity of artists, including those with mental health needs. One of these changes, is a new approach to recovery, that accepts the symptoms of illness are not always eliminated; the individual does not have to fit into a rigid world, but can learn to live with symptoms and rebuild her life in spite of them. In this new context, mental illness and its ability to bring new and alternative perspectives, can be understood as a creative advantage. However, people experiencing mental health problems often have no access to the music sector in order to tell their stories, and the music sector and song-writers do not have access to the alternative experiences, stories and even inner worlds of people who have experienced mental ill health. The result is highly visible in unrealistic songs using a romanticised concept of madness, which fails to reflect a true diversity of experience. The only way to change this situation is for the musical stage to open up and include people with mental health challenges in the creation process – and this is where the Introspection Music Experience project begins.
Introspection Music Experience (IME) is a 3 year long international project that brings together musicians and composers with and without psychiatric vulnerabilities from Belgium, England, Greece and Spain. During this project, 12 solo artists and bands will collaborate with composers with experience of mental health challenges in order to create music together that will make new audiences aware of real experiences of mental ill health. IME will create a space for diverse communities to get to know each other, initiating a dialogue, sharing experiences, and finally, producing bold and authentic artistic expressions to share with the wider world. The artists will use music as a vehicle to talk about the reality of living with mental ill health from a first hand perspective, and thus contribute to the elimination of the persisting stigma towards mental illness and people living with it
What are IME’s outcomes?
- A music album co-created by artists from four European countries, composed of 16 singles
- Four tracks with video clips and twelve video lyrics
- Twelve local concerts in Athens, Brussels, London and Valladolid
- An international tour with concerts in Belgium, England, Greece and Spain
- A documentary film illustrating the process of creating the final products of the IME project
- An e-book providing external organizations with all the information needed to replicate the IME project or to adapt it to their target groups’ needs
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