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Olivia Stock
18 May 2023, 16:01

Listening workshop exploring ambient music’s positive impact on mental wellbeing scheduled for ICA London next month

The one-off session will be hosted by published music psychologist and DJ Dr Michelle 

Poster from Dr Michelle’s upcoming workshop ‘Ambient Listening’

At the start of June, London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) will host an ambient listening workshop with Dr Michelle – a music psychologist, DJ, radio host, and writer.

The free, all-ages workshop will run from 6:30 - 8pm on Friday 2nd June, and is described as being “open to people of all ages and inviting an intergenerational approach to listening to and thinking about music.”

The session will begin with an ambient listening workshop, featuring music from the likes of Mary Lattimore, Ibukun Sunday, and Duval Timothy, where Dr Michelle will explore the science behind why music can have a transformative effect on our emotional wellbeing. This will then be followed by a group discussion about participants’ own personal experiences of listening.

With over a decade of research and DJ experience, Dr Michelle is committed to advancing the understanding of the transformative power of music in improving mental wellbeing. Her doctoral research has involved developing and testing the first intervention exploring whether playing music in the mind can help people feel less anxious.

The results of one survey carried out last year showed that 85% of people in Britain believe music is vital to their mental health. Another study from 2020 revealed that 89% of UK adults who regularly play an instrument feel the positive effects on their mental health.

Grab your free tickets to the workshop, ‘Ambient Listening with Dr Michelle’, here.

Dr Michelle also recently completed a five-year residency on NTS where her monthly show, ‘Michelle’s Club Hour’ was widely praised for its innovative approach to showcasing a wide range of sounds. As a DJ, she has previously played line-ups with the likes of Auntie Flo, Neneh Cherry, Ms. Carrie Stacks, and Giggs.

Later this month, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) will also host their annual Between The Lines festival, featuring performances from Nabihah Iqbal, Pan Daijing, and Lafawndah + Happa (DJ).

Earlier this year, a book edited by psychotherapist and former promoter and tour manager Tamsin Embleton, who also serves as director of Music Industry Therapist Collective, was released with the aim of helping artists and live events professionals deal with the impact of touring on mental health and well-being. Last year, UK charity Help Musicians relaunched its subsidiary organisation, Music Minds Matter, as a single-focus charity devoted to the issue of mental health.

Read DJ Mag's new feature on the relationship between ambient music and mental health here.