Holly Marland works for LIME as a Music for Health specialist and has been involved in the development of music services for Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust since 2005, working alongside colleagues Ros Hawley and Mark Fisher.

Soundspaces is one of 5 innovative strands of work taking place at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital as part of the Medical Notes Programme delivered by LIME Music for Health.

Its core aim is to address complex clinical areas of the hospital where noise pollution is seen to be significant, using a performance-based approach to develop new relationships.

Noise is a significant irritant during hospitalisation and has adverse effects on physical and mental health (Moore, Nguyen, Nolan 1998, WHO 2001). Early consultations at RMCH show that open plan areas such as A&E and ICU have high levels of noise pollution exceeding WHO recommendations. Noise pollution may be a particular irritant in areas where patients receive long-term treatments (Renal/Oncology) or who are in isolation for extended periods (Cystic Fibrosis). Feedback from LIME’s Concerts Series at Central Manchester University Hospitals (2012-2015) indicates that listening to high quality, interactive performances that respond to the overall sound environment impacts positively on patients, staff and visitors, reducing anxiety, lifting spirits and alleviating boredom.

Holly will deliver bespoke residencies in identified areas of high noise pollution where musicians are not currently working regularly (A&E, ICU, Oncology). She will consult closely with staff, conducting assessments of different sound environments in conjunction with research partners. 3 residencies (10 x 2 hour sessions) will be delivered annually, the first exploring the sound-world of areas, testing the effects of new sounds/music, trialling different approaches (performative, background, participatory and recorded musics) and gathering feedback. The second residency will test prepared resources, and include appropriate guest artists for live-work/recordings to diversify the palette of sound/music, measuring its impact. The third will allow for final testing of the ‘SoundSpaces palette’, gathering and assimilating feedback. Each residency will be followed by time for reflection, staff meetings (hospital staff/SSNM), staff training, composition, editing, resource development. Each year will culminate in the production of a report and resources (including audio recordings) as well as time for staff training/advocacy/consultancy for the following year.

In year 2 Holly will work with Whitworth Art Gallery’s Learning and Engagement team to raise CYP’s awareness of noise pollution, particularly in hospitals. A sound installation project will be designed in consultation with CYP and delivered in year 3.

This Blog has been set up to document Holly’s learning journey both in the run up to the project starting in February 2016 and across all three years of the project.

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