Professor Adam Ockelford’s internationally-renowned project, Sounds of Intent maximises musical education for children with learning difficulties. The research team has developed a framework of musical development that covers the whole range of ability, from profound and multiple learning difficulties to those with autism, with or without exceptional musical abilities or ‘savants’. The software enables ideas for promoting children’s engagement with music to be viewed and downloaded, and for individual children to be assessed, whilst the framework records the progress of a pupil’s musical development, enabling teachers to improve practice and pupil engagement. By July 2013 soundsofintent.org had received three million visitors from all over the world.
A University of Roehampton study investigates the experience of dancing with Parkinson’s: how dance affects people socially, within their everyday lives, what motivates them to dance and keep dancing and how participants engage artistically and technically with movement. The study, led by Roehampton’s Dr Sara Houston, was commissioned by English National Ballet in 2010 and tracked the company’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme in London and its regional classes in Oxford and Liverpool.
The research team were finalists in the 2014 Engage Competition, run by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, and winners of the BUPA Foundation’s prestigious Vitality for Life Prize, 2011.
Read more about the research at http://roehamptondance.com/parkinsons/
Professor Jenny Hartley and Principal Lecturer Sarah Turvey from the Department of English and Creative Writing have been running reading groups in prisons for more than a decade – with the help of volunteers and prison librarians.
The Prison Reading Groups (PRG) project supports the spread of prison reading groups and encourages links between formal and informal education in prisons. Established in 2000, the project currently supports over 40 groups in more than 30 prisons nationwide. ‘Prisoners say the reading group experiences make them feel as if they are in a library, not in a prison,’ says Jenny. ‘There is a proper, focused discussion, and people use their own judgement and imagination and learn to listen to other people’s responses.’
The settings vary: libraries, vulnerable prisoners’ units, health care wings and day centres. PRG relies on volunteers and funding from grants and donations, which provides start-up funds for new groups and on-going support and training through workshops, visits, their website and e-network. The charity Give a Book currently supports the scheme, and Jenny and Sarah both still run two groups each. In 2014 PRG was rated ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework.