The Lullaby Project

The Irene Taylor Trust is collaborating with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Resound to bring the Lullaby Project to three regions (Suffolk, Hull & London) of the UK in 2020-21, following a successful pilot in 2017 (see below for more on the pilot, including evaluation). In November 2020 it was shortlisted for a RPS Award for Impact.

Devised by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in the US, the Lullaby Project invites participants to work with professional musicians to write a personal lullaby for their children. The aim of the project is to strengthen the bond between parent and child through a creative arts activity. The project can also be a way for parents to explore and express their emotions in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

The Irene Taylor trust initially became involved in the Lullaby Project through commissions by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which included co-delivering the Lullaby Project in Chicago.

Support for this second phase of UK Lullaby Projects is from:

ACE logo

The Foyle Foundation, The Kestrelman Trust, The Radcliffe Trust, Suffolk Community Foundation

Lullaby Project with YMCA Trinity, Suffolk 2020

In November and December restrictions from Covid-19 prompted us to bring the Lullaby Project online, using Zoom to work with young mums from YMCA Trinity in Ipswich to write their lullabies, before watching live-streaming of the musicians playing through their songs, allowing them to make changes before the final recordings:

Lullaby Projects with Praxis, Clean Break & Sounding Out, London 2020

London was the first region for these new Lullaby Projects in early 2020. We partnered with Praxis Community Projects to work with migrant & refugee mothers and with Clean Break & Sounding Out to work with mothers & fathers with experience of the criminal justice system. Listen to the resulting lullabies below.

Lullaby Project featured on BBC Proms at Home, August 2020

We were delighted to feature on the BBC Proms interactive Proms At Home, which profiles our Lullaby Project. Creative workshop leader Lucy Drever interviews some of the musicians we have supported to create their own lullabies and shows you how to write your own! This is a great opportunity to get creative at home!

Lullaby Project featured on BBC proms at home

If that wasn’t enough, our brilliant project leader musician Nick Hayes has specially arranged one of the lullabies, ‘Daddy’s Little Man’, for the BBC Singers – it’s really lovely!

All that and more are on the BBC Proms At Home website here

Piloting the Lullaby Project in the UK in 2017

The Lullaby Project artwork by Steph Ramplin

In the summer of 2017 the Irene Taylor Trust worked in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Resound (RPO) to bring the project to the UK. Over the course of two months, our project leaders worked with young refugee and migrant mothers in the WINGS group at Praxis Community Projects and fathers in a London prison.

After the first live sharing our Artistic Director Sara Lee wrote; “I’ve never minded getting up in the morning as I love my job. Today was particularly special as I spent it with a wonderful group of refugee and migrant mothers and some fabulous musicians. Over the past couple of weeks we have been helping the mums write lullabies for their children and today we recorded and performed them. They were, to a woman, excited, emotional, resolute, and hugely impressive. Many of their children, aged 3 months and up, heard their mums sing to them and will now have these songs for ever.”

BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour ran a short piece about the project, which you can listen to here.

Audience feedback included:

“So beautiful. Really emotional. I wish this project was available to all mums! Great to hear mums sharing their stories and love with their children.”

“Very moving, great commitment from everyone, wonderful to have top quality musicians involved.”

“Found it very emotional and so heart-warming to allow women to express their love through words and music.”

The UK pilots of the  Lullaby Project were supported by Arts Council England, Swan Mountain Trust and The Lucille Graham Trust

Creating beautiful music to share with children

Listen to the tracks recorded with the WINGS group at Praxis Community Projects here:

The tracks created with men in prison are available here:

Evaluating the Lullaby Project UK pilot

Researcher Sara Ascenso followed the process of bringing the Lullaby Project to the UK and created a report assessing the impact of the pilots, concluding that “the Lullaby Project model stands as a highly relevant initiative towards meeting the needs of both participant groups and the musicians, and the results make a strong case for its implementation in the UK.”

The full report is available to read here: The Lullaby Project Areas of Change and Mechanisms of Impact research by Sara Ascenso

Exploring the bond between parent and child through music

The Irene Taylor Trust has worked with parents on many occasions over the years. In 2015 & 16 we successfully co-delivered Lullaby Projects with teen parents in Chicago. Other projects focusing on parenthood have included: ‘Beyond the Secret Door’ (British Composers Award winner 2003), a children’s songbook written by women in prison; ‘Two Sides’ in HMYOI Werrington (2012) which brought together young men with their families; and ‘I See You, I See Me’ (2005), a collection of songs exploring how men in prison felt about fatherhood.

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