Kirklees Year of Music 2023

A banner reads Kirklees Year of Music with a blurred background of people at a conference

Kirklees is a district of world class music that stands proud on its rich and diverse musical heritage. Music is the beat of our heart, it is the sound of our communities, and it is the pulse of our towns and villages. Kirklees Year of Music 2023 has given opportunity and space to encounter new and traditional music and have access to high quality musical experiences across the district.

How was hoot involved? 

hoot has been the lead for the Health and Wellbeing programme for Kirklees Year of Music 2023. The programme, delivered alongside Creative Minds, has focussed on presenting music as a creative art and a therapeutic activity for all, regardless of previous experience and has showcased how music can build confidence and esteem, encourage personal growth, foster creative expression, and explore new possibilities in ways of improving health and wellbeing.   

Over 2950 people directly benefited from taking part in Rhythm of Life Health and Wellbeing programme delivered in partnership with Creative Minds, including many people from marginalised, vulnerable or under-represented communities most likely to experience health inequalities. 

Across the programme there was evidence of people developing new skills, gaining confidence, and forging important, long-lasting social connections, demonstrating that music can indeed play a pivotal role in the health and wellbeing of people and communities

Speak Our Music 

Monthly Speak Our Music events offered musician-led support for those working in or interested in how Music affects health in the creative sector. Musicians with lived experience of illness facilitated the sessions, sessions included learning about sound therapy, Lyric writing, using Sufi and traditional Hindustani music to relax. As part of Speak our Music participants engaged with the National Centre for Creative Health’s ‘Creative Review’ launched in October 2023 and represented Speak our Music at the National Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA) conference.  

Learn to DJ with Afterparty and hoot 

hoot hosted a series of After Party engagement sessions offering those with learning disabilities the opportunity to develop skills in DJing and producing parties, the group created props for the Dark Horse theatre’s production of After Party #Unit21 and had a chance to try the DJ decks at the event. 

Library of Sounds Project 

Launched in Autumn 2023, this programme focused on informal music making sessions for the community. Workshops included drumming, learning traditional Sufi Rhymes, singing and making music with instruments. Sessions will run in libraries across Kirklees until Spring 2024. 

The Rhythm of Life Podcast 

Rhythm of Life podcast features community members, leaders, and groups talking about music and sound, and it helps their mental and physical wellbeing in the rhythm of their day-to-day how life. Episodes are created by communities that are traditionally not able to take part in mainstream events due to disabilities or access needs. This project will continue till the end of March 2024. Read about the episodes and listen online via hoot's website. 

Toolkits and Resources for Music and Health 

hoot gathered toolkits, guidance, factsheets, and reports from organisations across the UK that can help people to develop cultural and creative health programmes. A full list of resources if available online on hoot's website.

In collaboration with the Music Cities Forum, we asked Jane Willis to lead a session on Musicians’ self-care and she also created resources for use by musicians and will deliver more of this training in early 2024.   

The Rhythm of Life: Creative Summit conference 

In collaboration with Kirklees Year of Music events team, the Creative Summit held at Dewsbury Town Hall on the 9th of February 2024 showcased the work carried out by the Health and Wellbeing programme. The event also included panels and discussions on themes that emerged from Kirklees Year of Music 2023, how we can improve our practices to build a systemic legacy from ‘Rhythm of Life’ and a reminder from national & regional colleagues on the importance of Creative Health and the structures, tools and initiatives that are there to support sustained quality development and delivery.  

What next?  

hoot has worked with 716 individuals across all projects and delivery is still ongoing, hoot will carry on providing elements of Speak our Music, through a new programme to include peer support services, and trailing a CPD programme in April 2024 for artists through a new partnership with the University of Huddersfield. All partners involved in After Party would like to re-do the project in 2024, accessing new participant's and places we did not engage with through Kirklees Year of Music 2023.  

Want to find out more?

To find out more about Health & Wellbeing and the Kirklees Year of Music 2023, contact the project lead Sharleen: 

Tel: 01484 516224   |