CNMN > Projects > Louise Campbell: Participatory Creative Music in Nature with Adults with Disabilities

Louise Campbell

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  • Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
  • Found objects or art supplies
  • Adults
  • Ecology
  • Physical disabilities (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Rett

Louise Campbell: Participatory Creative Music in Nature with Adults with Disabilities


Explore the con­nec­tion between music and nature through Louise Camp­bel­l’s work with The C.A.R.E. Cen­tre in her project Tak­ing it Out­side. 


Louise Camp­bell is a musi­cian and cul­tur­al medi­a­tor in Mon­tre­al, who cre­at­ed the work­shop Tak­ing it Out­side: Mak­ing Music & Art Inspired by Nature.  In 2023, Louise cre­at­ed a ver­sion of this par­tic­i­pa­to­ry work­shop for her sound instal­la­tion at Parc Frédéric-Back fea­tur­ing music from her album Sources: Music inspired by the St. Lawrence Riv­er. Louise picked Parc Frédéric-Back in part because it is a ful­ly acces­si­ble urban park. 


Intro­duc­ing clients of The C.A.R.E. Centre

While Louise worked with many dif­fer­ent par­tic­i­pants and groups, the doc­u­men­tary shows Louise work­ing with clients of The C.A.R.E. Cen­tre, a recre­ation­al and edu­ca­tion­al day pro­gram that enhances the lives, func­tion­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of adults with severe phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties. Olivia Ques­nel, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of The C.A.R.E. Cen­tre, describes how C.A.R.E. clients, all over the age of 21, have strong con­nec­tions with music, and use music to be expres­sive and creative. 


Fea­tured activities

Louise pro­vides mul­ti­ple ways of facil­i­tat­ing to include par­tic­i­pa­tion from ver­bal and non-ver­bal par­tic­i­pants. In the work­shop, Louise asks par­tic­i­pants to lis­ten to the music in the park, and imag­ine or draw a bird as they lis­ten to the music. She invites par­tic­i­pants to imag­ine where the bird lives. Next, Louise hands out bright­ly coloured scarfs and invites par­tic­i­pants to move like their birds, with options for par­tic­i­pants to share their move­ments with each other.


Com­pe­ten­cies need­ed to do this work

Empa­thy: Lis­ten­ing to par­tic­i­pants and what they want, then reflect­ing that lis­ten­ing by mak­ing changes as a facil­i­ta­tor, rather than mak­ing par­tic­i­pants change. 


Desire to con­nect with peo­ple: Being curi­ous about peo­ple and seek­ing to under­stand how they expe­ri­ence the world, which ensures facil­i­ta­tion is more responsive.

Skilled musi­cian­ship:
A high lev­el of musi­cal skill is required to be able to work with par­tic­i­pant inter­ests and abil­i­ties with­in par­tic­i­pa­to­ry cre­ative music. 


Engag­ing in shared cre­ativ­i­ty: Louise describes excite­ment in cre­at­ing music with oth­ers, and Olivia describes the impor­tance of cre­ative explo­ration for participants.


Advice for Com­mu­ni­ty-Engaged Musicians

The work­shop is suc­cess­ful if peo­ple are hav­ing fun. If peo­ple aren’t hav­ing fun, then adapt the activ­i­ties, chang­ing or tweak­ing so that par­tic­i­pants stay engaged and have a good time.


Musi­cians can pick up the skills they need as they go along, but they need the heart and desire to do this work to be able to do it well. The desire to con­nect is most important. 


Medi­a­tion is impor­tant in that it is a rela­tion­ship. Mak­ing music is about exchang­ing some­thing of each oth­er to cre­ate together.


View sec­tions of the documentary:

0:00   Intro­duc­ing Louise Camp­bell 

01:48 Intro­duc­ing clients of The C.A.R.E. Cen­tre 

03:39 Fea­tured activ­i­ties 

06:35 Com­pe­ten­cies need­ed to do this work

08:44 What does suc­cess look like? 

09:25 Advice for com­mu­ni­ty-engaged musicians


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