Musician, Researcher, and Activist based in London, UK
THE CURRENT CRISIS IN ISRAEL / PALESTINE
AN ALL SOULS LETTER TO FRIENDS
Letter sent November 2nd 2023, in the week of All Souls (Halloween, Todos Santos) where the all the human dead in history - both ancient and recent - are commemorated around the world.
Dear anglophone friends (mainly),
Forgive the impersonality but I am writing pretty much the same thing to a lot of people, and I feel some urgency about this.
I hope you are as well as current circumstances permit.
Alongside people around the world, I have watched horrified - as no doubt have you - as the events of October 7th onwards in Israel and Palestine have unfolded, ever more awful and heartbreaking, and seemingly unstoppable.
These events have affected me particularly profoundly for a number of reasons.
First, I personally know both Israelis and Palestinians who have suffered loss - and it always goes deeper when friends or colleagues have been personally affected.
Second, I have made the recording of war’s casualties my professional business for these last 20 years, through the work of Iraq Body Count, Oxford Research Group and the Every Casualty Project which grew out of it.
Thirdly, as someone of Christian heritage who has longed for reconciliation between three three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), the territory in which the current horrors are unfolding is the precise location where such longings will either be fulfilled or dashed.
Fourth, because of the geopoltics of the region, the global stakes are enormously high, with the risk of the conflict spreading far beyond that tiny beleagured piece of land. I do fear for us all/
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Read the rest of this letter here
May 2023 70 years ago, when I was just 3 years old, Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne. I cannot remember a time when she was not Queen. Whether I like it or not, her reign was a defining feature of my adult life, even though I never was face to face with a representative of the Royal Family until 2018 when the OBE was conferred on me by her grandson - and likely next monarch - Prince William. The citation was "services to psychology and music".
Now, looking back on a 50-year career within Higher Education and 55 years of leadership in amateur music, I am both proud and sad. Proud that music psychology, which hardly existed when I began my career, is now a flourishing global sub-discipline. Sad that in Britain, like so many countries around the world, high quality music activity and education is being increasingly marginalised, and it is increasingly difficult for the musically gifted to obtain the support and encouragement they need to allow society to be enriched through their gifts. I am also sad that wars waged the name of the monarch have killed hundreds of thousands of people, mainly muslim civilians, in the last 30 years.
This personal website aims to be a place where I can both record and reflect on things achieved in the past, and also share actvities, projects, and thoughts in a more lasting and archival way than on social media (despite my active use of them).
You can find here links and references to the organisations that I have been connected to, but also accounts of the things I do and care about as an individual, outside organisational frameworks.
Guildhall School of Music & Drama (link)
AHRC Music for Social Impact project (link)
Social Impact of Making Music Platform (link)
Iraq Body Count (link)
Repositories of public outputs can be found at
Google Scholar (link)
The ResearchGate link is to a complete list of publications with download links.
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