Over lockdown, patients at Langdon in Dawlish had an exciting opportunity to work alongside Matt Smith, Technical Instructor, along with lecturers and students from dBs music. The aim of this project was to create music reflecting their experiences of this unprecedented time while recognising the limitations placed on access to therapeutic sessions because of the national lockdown.
For the past six years, Matt has been helping patients to make sense of their experiences through music, offering sessions to all of the patients, from the musically capable to those who have never thought of engaging with music before. Matt has regularly entered pieces into the Koestler Awards – an annual competition for arts created in criminal justice settings.
With the deadline for this year’s awards approaching, Matt and the team were inspired by the awards’ theme of “window”, which was seen as being truly reflective of the current climate at that time when the nation had limited access to the outside world. This meant experiencing a new reality through patients’ own perceived “windows”. The term was considered as an abstract term in the form of optics such as eye sight, camera lenses, glasses, televisions which led to taking inspiration from the phrase ‘a window of opportunity’ as well as the theme of being ‘on the inside looking out’.
Patients across the site submitted loops of music they created themselves, as well as self-penned lyrics, into the Window Project. These accumulated sounds were then passed on to external recording artists ranging from students at Deep Blue Sound Bristol as well as recording artists such as John Matthias, Jay Auborn and Mike Ladd.
Matt Smith said: “All of the patients were amazed and intrigued by the remixes of their work; which created very positive emotions and a sense of achievement for all involved. The patients felt their work had been valued and this provided them with an identity outside of being ‘a patient’. Since the project, those involved have really sparked their imaginations, motivations and confidence to continue engaging in music and take a more autonomous approach to their work.
“Working with sound and with music forms is a really important part of the therapy programme we offer in secure services.
“We are really delighted to be working with Dr John Matthias, his team and the students from dBs and look forward to future collaborations. Listen to this inspiring music and read the blog below to learn more about what we have been up to!"