The Care for Music Team is very pleased to announce that Care for Music Investigator, Gary Ansdell and his research partner at Nordoff Robbins, Professor Mercedes Pavlicevic have received the European Music Therapy Confederation Award for 2022. The Conference meets every three years.
We are very happy to be able to include Gary’s message of thanks to the conference here:
“My heartfelt thanks to the European Music Therapy Confederation for this honour. Also on behalf of the late Mercedes Pavlicevic and her family, who will be thrilled to hear this news. As most of you know Mercedes died in 2018 – it’s just past the 4th anniversary of her death. We still miss Mercedes the person of course, but her legacy is clear now, and was well celebrated at the World Congress in 2020 in South Africa. Two key qualities came out of us thinking about Mercedes’ professional work: courage and imagination. She was certainly a disrupter of professional holy cows… but she did this with lightness, intelligence, and kindness.
It’s really special that this award is presented here, as Mercedes had important connections with Edinburgh. But of course she also influenced music therapists and other musicians worldwide – in Africa, the Middle East, Europe. She was a real international.
I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Mercedes over more than 20 years. Mercedes as ‘disturber’ had a low tolerance of lazy ideas, practices, and people! A lot of our work together was in the early days of developing the Community Music Therapy as an idea and international movement. I sometimes describe Community Music Therapy as a can-opener rather than a can. Our aim was to open up music therapy again – to help music therapists work best in their local, cultural contexts. Getting beyond ‘one size fits all’ models and practices.
Those qualities that were key to Mercedes and her work – courage and imagination – are also key to Community Music Therapy and its shoogle. I’ll finish with the slogan that we often used: Follow where music and people lead… That usually works!”
Congratulations to Gary and Mercedes, whom we miss dearly. You have inspired us in all we do.
You can also read Gary’s essay on the links between Mercedes’ artwork and her work in music therapy here: https://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/728/sketches-of-mercedes-ansdell.zp191301.pdf
Stige, B., G. Ansdell, C. Elefant and M. Pavlicevic. 2016. Where Music Helps: Community Music Therapy in Action and Reflection. London: Routledge.