Music in Human and Social Development Research Group

Welcome to the Music in Human and Social Development Research Group

Created and founded by Dr Katie Overy, Prof. Nigel Osborne and Prof. Peter Nelson in 2005, the Music in Human and Social Development Research Group (previously the IMHSD*) brings together researchers, theorists and practitioners from across multiple disciplines including music, psychology, sociology, medicine, informatics, physics, education, linguistics and neuroscience to explore the complex and powerful role of music in human experience.

Currently directed by Dr Katie Overy and based in the Reid School of Music, our aim is to further the scientific understanding and practical application of music as a therapeutic, educational, artistic and social tool. Our work investigates the complexities of human musicality, musical intelligence and musical communication, with the goal of offering new insights into the nature of the human condition and society. We are actively engaged in the implementation of therapeutic, educational and social development programmes involving music and are keen to support the development of innovative interventions in these areas. This work is based on strong links within the community including with schools, orchestras, hospitals, prisons, local authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

We regularly host interdisciplinary research seminars, workshops and conferences around original themes of shared interest, such as ‘Interactive Minds’ (2005), ‘Rhythm, Time and Temporal Processing’ (2006), ‘Music, Language and Movement’ (2007), ‘Dance, Timing and Musical Gesture’ (2008), and ‘Music, Pattern and Mathematics’ (2010). In 2011 we hosted the triennial, international music neuroscience conference, ‘Music and the Neurosciences IV: Learning and Memory’, in collaboration with the Mariani Foundation.

Since 2012 we have become part of Edinburgh College of Art and have continued to host and collaborate with related initiatives, including Rhythms in Scotland (2012), Europe, Brain and Music (2010-13), The Child’s Curriculum (2010-2013), the Scottish Music and Health Network (2014-2016) The Musical Brain (2010-2017), Musical Learning Across the Lifespan (2014-2017) and The Diverse Musical Brain (2019).

To learn more about our Events, Members and Research, please use the links above.

* Institute for Music in Human and Social Development