Oxford Seminar in the Psychology of Music: Jennifer MacRitchie (University of Sheffield)

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The creative health sector widely acknowledges and evidences the value of music for people living with dementia, however, access to music is often directed through distinct types of activity. Through co-design of new devices with community and residential care groups, the Music, Dementia, Technology project at the University of Sheffield explores what music means to older adults living with dementia, the plurality of motivations and uses, and how we might create new technologies to support this. By prioritising activities that support agency, creativity and relationality, this talk will demonstrate the added value of technologies in this domain to provide a handle for music interaction, supporting the person living with dementia to be an active musical agent. Work with people living with young-onset dementia will also be discussed that pilots using new AI-enabled tools to support idea generation and critique for new musical devices. The implications of this work are in rethinking how we make musical interaction accessible, and how technology can help us challenge societal and internalised stereotypes of what it means to be musical when living with dementia.



Jennifer MacRitchie is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Sheffield, based in the Department of Music and the Healthy Lifespan Institute. Her interdisciplinary background spans engineering, music and cognitive science. Dr MacRitchie’s research focuses on older adult experiences, cognitive and motor benefits of learning musical instruments, and in using technology to design accessible music-making in community and residential care.


About the Series:

The Oxford Seminar in the Psychology of Music (OSPoM) features leading researchers presenting a wide variety of topics in the intersection between music and psychology. The Seminar is convened by Eric Clarke (University of Oxford). The seminars start at 5.15pm GMT, and last for 90 minutes – 45 minutes of presentation followed by 45 minutes of discussion. These seminars are open to all and are hosted in a hybrid format: join in person (in the Committee Room of the Oxford Faculty of Music) or remotely via Zoom.

Please visit our main series page for details about past and forthcoming seminars.