Upon returning to Ireland to begin her Atlantic Fellowship, Dr Catherine Jordan was surprised to find the research area of music and neuroscience did not exist in Ireland, despite being a research area which is widely developed across the world. While there were individuals working in this area in Ireland, there was no common network and indeed, many were not even aware of one another.
Keen to rectify the situation, Catherine created a research network ‘Music and the Brain Research Network Ireland’ in July 2018. The purpose of the group is to create links, foster collaborations across disciplines and capitalize on the expertise in Ireland to make Ireland a global hub for research in the area of music and neuroscience.
The first meeting took place in the Royal Irish Academy of Music and since then the network has grown considerably, with members from a range of disciplines, including professional musicians, composers, conductors, clinicians, music therapists, psychologists and neuroscientists.
A nationwide network, members come from a number of major institutions across Ireland including University College Cork, the University of Limerick, Queens University Belfast, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons Dublin, the National Rehabilitation Hospital, MISA St James Hospital, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the National Concert Hall.
At the end of October 2018, Catherine organised the network’s first research symposium at GBHI in Trinity College Dublin. At the symposium, speakers discussed many topics ranging from the contribution of musical expertise to our brain health; the neuroscience of the musical brain; the efficacy of music interventions for people living with dementia, as well as for people with acquired brain injury and for disorders of consciousness; the potential participating in music activities (such as choirs) offers to our well being; as well as music therapy and mental health. The symposium highlighted the inspiring work happening in the area of music and neuroscience in Ireland and proved a successful first step on the journey of establishing Ireland as a research centre for music and neuroscience.
The group is always looking for new members, so if you are interested or you know of someone who may be interested, please do get in touch with Catherine!