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Music Therapy Conversations

Jul 18, 2023

In this episode, Luke talks to Hilary Davies, with a focus on music therapy and neurodiversity.

Hilary Davies is a freelance music therapist currently specialising in working with autistic adults, including recently-diagnosed autistic adults and autistic adults with co-occurring conditions such as complex PTSD. She is also working towards a PhD on the topic of neurodiversity paradigm-informed music therapy practice with autistic people at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, funded by the Guildhall EDI in Music Therapy PhD Studentship. Hilary has also worked in a variety of other music therapy roles, including setting up and leading projects for Music Place North West (in hospice care) and Entelechy Arts.

Hilary trained as a music therapist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating with distinction in 2019. She also studied Music at the University of Cambridge (Gonville and Caius College). Prior to training as a music therapist, Hilary worked as a music teacher and freelance performer for more than a decade.

Alongside her research on music therapy with autistic people from a neurodiversity paradigm-perspective (a topic on which she has published as well as presenting at various conferences including BAMT 2021, European Music Therapy Conference 2022, World Music Therapy Congress 2023 and guest lecturing at various universities) Hilary has research interests in music therapy with adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and music therapy and disability studies, including the experience of disabled music therapists (she is currently involved in a Music Therapy Charity funded research project on this topic with Beth Pickard). She is the founder and co-ordinator of the BAMT Support Network for Disabled Music Therapists, and advocates in various ways for the increased inclusion and understanding of disabled people within the music therapy profession.


Amanda Baggs - ‘In My Language’ - 


Davies, H. (2022) “Autism is a way of being”: An Insider Perspective on Neurodiversity, music therapy and social justice” in British Journal of Music Therapy 36 (1).

Devlin K (2018) “How do i see you, and what does that mean for us? An autoethnographic study” in Music Therapy Perspectives 36(2).

Harris, T. A. (2012). I'm OK, you're OK. Random House.

Milton, D. (2012) “On the ontological status of autism: the ‘double empathy problem’” in Disability & Society 27 (6)

Pickard B, Thompson G, Metell M, Roginsky E., Elefant C. (2020) “‘It’s Not What’s Done, But Why It’s Done’: Music therapists’ understanding of normalisation, maximisation and the neurodiversity movement” in Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy 20(3)

Price, D (2022) Unmasking Autism: The Power of Embracing our Hidden Neurodiversity New York: Penguin Random House

Singer, J (1998 / 2017) NeuroDiversity: The Birth of an Idea. Kindle Edition.

Shiloh, C.J. & Blythe Lagasse, A. (2014) “Sensory Friendly Concerts: A community music therapy initiative to promote Neurodiversity” in International Journal of Community Music 7 (1)

Walker, N. (2012) “Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm” in  J. Bascom (ed.)Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking Washington: Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.

Walker, N. (2021) Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Autistic Empowerment, and Postnormal Possibilities Fort Worth: Autonomous Press.

Winter P (2012) Loud hands and loud voices. In: Bascom J (ed.) Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking. Washington, DC: Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.