In this series of creative music sessions, participants will learn about conducting, composition, song-writing and, if they choose, musical performance. The project will culminate in a public performance of the new orchestral pieces, played by the Ensemble and any participants who wish to perform. A trained support worker will be present at all online and in-person workshops.

This project will take place in two parts. Initially, a series of online workshops will focus on composition and song-writing, leading to a song book and a recording by The Nevis Ensemble of new chamber pieces. Once it is safe to return to in-person workshops, we will then focus on conducting and musical performance skills, alongside musicians from The Nevis Ensemble.

Supporting Survivors

In this project, participants will learn new ways to tell stories through music and song. Conducting a group of musicians is an act that requires confidence, and the sensation of having full control over what a group of musicians does can be transformative. By placing survivors in a leadership role in this project, we hope to offer a subtle, supportive and creative environment in which they can voice their identities and possibly effect change in their own lives. 


The first stage of this project will take place online and will invite a small number of participants to learn composition and song-writing skills with composer Aileen Sweeney and singer Claire Hastings. These workshops will result in a Nevis Ensemble recording and a digital song book of new chamber pieces. Once we are able to meet in-person the second stage will begin. Participants will not need to have attended stage one to sign up to these workshops. In these sessions, Holly Mathieson and a string quartet from the Ensemble will work with participants on musicianship and conducting skills, whilst Aileen Sweeney draws inspiration from the participants – their input, ideas and stories – for a new piece of orchestral music. The project will culminate in a public performance, showcasing the work of the participants over the course of the entire project. Pieces will be played by The Nevis Ensemble and any participants who wish to perform.

Supporting the Local Community

The Nevis Ensemble is dedicated to removing barriers to accessing orchestral music, with the vision that ‘music is for everyone, everywhere.’ They combine pop-up performances with participatory music workshops for a variety of different participants. You can read more about their work here.

Aileen Sweeney is a composer and accordion player based in Glasgow. You can find out more about her work here. Claire Hastings is a Scottish folk singer and songwriter. You can find out more about her work here. Holly Mathieson is an award-winning conductor and the Co-Artistic Director of The Nevis Ensemble. You can find out more about her work here.

The general public will be invited to attend a final performance of new orchestral pieces, played by The Nevis Ensemble and any participants who wish to perform. A free download of musical recordings of new orchestral pieces, as well as a digital song book, will also be available from The Survivor Arts Community website.

the survivor arts community logo

The Survivor Arts Community CIC is a registered community interest company: 598795

Our logo was created by Glasgow-based artist

 Kaitlin Mechan.