loader image

Key moments of 2020

The impact of our work.


How working in co-creation has shaped our focus and direction across the year and demonstrated how we sustain connection.


2020 commenced with a fantastic digital music making project with RAMM Museum. Young creatives let their imagination run wild, exploring the museum’s objects and spaces, capturing ideas and recordings along the way.  Using interactive tech, conductive paint and loop pedals to inspire new musical creation, performance and sound manipulation, young people were offered an accessible way into musical enquiry. This project was funded in conjunction with our partners at Daisi and set intentions for the new year around demonstrating inclusive practice in action.


Presenting at the ‘Inclusive Practice in Action’ event hosted by Sound Connections at Amnesty, London. Reaching out on a national platform and sharing our ideas about practice!  “When have you felt excluded” was maybe the most powerful question we asked our discussion group.  We also enjoyed asking the group to assign a sound from our multi-sensory, interactive layout to represent current mood or comfort level.

Leading discussion and workshops at Devon Music Hubs Peninsular Conference this month enabled us to further broadcast Moor to Sea’s voice and support the workforce in offering inclusive approaches to music delivery.


Working 1:1 with young people when they need that is really important to us. An inclusive approach is not ‘one size fits all’!  We know that young people often need different things to each other and that barriers can be ones that are self-imposed. We find ways to maintain connection and continue engagement outside of group work when this is necessary.  Working relationally allows us to grow musical landscapes together. As the Coronavirus Pandemic hit, we adapted sessions and focus to reach those most impacted.  We responded to crisis with active, musical support.


Playing Together was co-constructed with the community and our partners at Play Torbay. It quickly established as a successful, well attended weekly Parent/Carer Toddler music group for families in Torquay.  When Covid-19 restricted face to face delivery, we needed to respond in a considered way.  Working on line, through screens didn’t sit well with our pedagogical approach to Early Years.  We developed a digital offer which felt authentic to us, remained in keeping with prioritising child-led play in creative, musical environments and which proved to be a lasting and useful set of resources for families, educators and early years settings during the pandemic.


How do we work remotely in a way that works for young people? A central tenet of our approach is to work relationally, in co-creation with the people in the space that they are in.That process can be disrupted when interacting through a screen. Rather than race to provide a digital replacement immediately, we worked on developing an authentic digital offer in response to Covid-19. We used video calls for sharing ideas, explorations and skills development. Some young people were more comfortable online, which led to new working relationships and ways of reaching people. We were fortunate to have already developed our “Ungroup” project, using online platform Bandlab Education, for people who might face barriers to attending groups in person. Now, that was everyone! Ungroup became an essential resource for sharing and collaboration in a digital space.


Musicians on the move! In order to meet the continuing and increasingly urgent need, we took to the roads to deliver new sets of sensory, beautiful sounding but easy to play instruments:

We recognised that our response to the crisis was crucial for many of the people we work with. People newly introduced to us were desperately needing to find connection. We have been often told that we have provided a life line. With consistency, enjoyment and hope that the work we were doing would be able to extend beyond our isolated bubbles at some future point, families and individuals had engagement when they needed it most, but knowing also that relationships would be long term. Music connects us to something bigger, which was more needed than ever in disconnected times.


Moor to Sea Residency at The Orchard, Lupton commences with Lifeworks holiday respite for young people with learning disabilities. Funding secured through partnership with Imagine This enabled us to establish a weekly musical residency at the orchard.  We have always believed in the power of music to reduce social isolation and to reach people for positive effect. This became especially important during the pandemic.  We saw how those young people and families isolated pre-covid became even more so.  We were able to use our residency here to continue connecting with young people in crisis at this time.


In all of our project based work, we strive to Break the Sound Barrier!  We believe that musical creation is intrinsic to being human and that access to music should be equal. Our aim is to provide opportunities for all lives to be lived musically. We see many young people for whom access to music, and life, has not been equal.  We are so proud of our young people for the musical achievements and developments they have made during this tricky year.  We are also proud to be able to evidence the consistency and quality of engagement Moor to Sea has maintained throughout lockdowns. 


Watching the seasons change and hearing this reflected back to us in the music created over this time with young carers from the Youth Trust.  We have built new relationships in challenging times and helped each other find a way through.  This has been a rollercoaster ride, sometimes we’ve had to dig deep to find the reserves needed! We talk about Orchestrating Change. For us, this is about co-creating authentic, musical projects which support social inclusion and develop understanding across difference.  It’s about valuing all co-creators as equal. It’s also about valuing the role of artists/musicians/creators and establishing systems that elevate and prioritise this.  Moor to Sea Music Collective is all about being part of a collective group of co-creators.


Co-creating Halloween themed pieces, with very different sounding results from two of our groups. Making music sound scary seems to be a way into using music to tell a story – These groups had plenty of ideas of how they might develop a story based soundscape from sound effects to musical effects. Many of the young people have stories to tell about their experiences, although they would not be willing to do so on demand. We hold a safe accessible space through co-creation. This allows young people to explore, and experiment with telling any story, light-hearted or serious, so that the structures to support them are there when they need to have their voice heard.

Music will happen and people will tell their stories when they are ready to tell them in ways that want to without the need for pre-determine outputs.


This month we reflected on our response to Covid, while in a new lockdown. We recognised that some organisations have been keen to celebrate work from this time as successful – but has it always been? This was regularly referred to as “unprecedented times,” so how could all responses, delivery and outcomes have been “successful”? How are we measuring success? 

We have continued to deliver to the best of our capacity, while continuing to listen to the voices who needed our engagement, but we haven’t always done it with sustaining financial support from funders. The drive to seem successful maybe over-rode the need to be authentic and inclusive. 

When funders and larger organisations recognise the need to champion those with “lived experience” yet aren’t able to listen to how that lived experience creates barriers, (which is not always obvious), as smaller, grass roots organisations, we find ourselves without funds, whilst continuing to try to be that support for the people we work with. 

Some of our evaluations of the work we’ve been doing for partners can be found here.  We’ve found the most useful reflections of these times to be musical!


We have seen that providing a consistent offering for young people allows for meaningful relationships to develop.  It also enables the development of in depth enquiry and exploration which in turn leads towards strong outcomes for advocacy.  Making this a sustainable offer for young people within a current culture of project-based funding will remain our challenge into the new year. We intend to take the learning from this project forward, developing further residency-based enquiry which supports young people to access and find shared voice through site specific work and beyond in 2021.

Over the next year we will focus on supporting:

  • access to music for all 
  • positive mental health through music
  • the workforce in developing inclusive music practice


“I just wanted to say that throughout the lockdown you have been a real lifeline. You gave us something to focus on, something to look forward to and gave T a huge boost in confidence. You gave us consistency when there wasn’t any and prevented me from totally losing the plot. The times I could sit and breathe and watch him achieving and focusing and being calm were so invaluable and have provided us both with amazing memories!!! I think last week and the time in the hobbit hole are firm faves!”

“Thank you so much for your fabulous work with the Children in Care Club this year, in these difficult circumstance too. We have a great spooky song – and soon to be lovely festive ensemble that we can share on our new web page with all cared for young people and with the Corporate Parenting Board/LA. We know it is about the journey and the fun foremost, but being able to have outcomes to spread the messages that the Children in Care Club and Council is also about having fun and being imaginative with their collective voices is great.”

“The session this week was truly wonderful and the group really enjoyed themselves and so did Sophie and I. Having creative and nature based experiences such as this project are really important for our young people. The Orchard is a special place.”

“Music definitely fits well within the orchard and Moor to Sea have been such an inspiration to all who have been involved.”