Project Description


community arts worker, researcher and writer


Founding member of the international research platform SIMM, created in August 2017


François Matarasso has been a community arts worker, researcher and writer for 35 years, in the UK and internationally. His arts practice has included theatre, visual arts and writing projects in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, care institutions, prisons and other settings. His research includes Use or Ornament? (1997) on the social impact of participation in the arts, and he has undertake evaluation work in the UK, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Colombia and Burkina Faso. His most recent work is a series of books on undervalued aspects of contemporary culture called ‘Regular Marvels’. For more information see

Further information

Presentation: Music and social change – Intentions and outcomes

The talk will propose an understanding of art that recognises the creative agency of both artist and audience (and include an interpretation of these terms). It will then argue that music programmes with social purposes cannot plan or guarantee their results and that it is more accurate to say that they can create conditions for individual and social change. What participants make of those conditions must—and should—be up to them. The relationship between artist and participant is therefore not instrumental but mutual, responsive and creative. The consequences both for practice and evaluation will be considered. Policy makers and funding bodies often seek an unattainable security modelled on the randomised controlled trial but probability, which is equally widely accepted in medicine, is a more accurate and useful concept for tracking the outcomes of the Social Impact of Making Music.