About the Organisers

Sarah Mawby 

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PhD Candidate in Music, University of Leeds

Sarah holds a BMus degree in Music Performance and a MMus degree in the Applied Psychology of Music from the University of Leeds. A singer by trade, she became interested in researching music education for children and young people labelled as having SEN/D whilst studying abroad at The University of North Texas. She is a longstanding member of the Music Education Council Special Interest Group in Music Education and AN/SEND, an Early Career Research Fellow of the Institute of Musical Research and Chair of the University of Leeds Resonances Reading Group on Qualitative Research. In addition to her research experience, she has also worked and volunteered as a community music leader for organisations such as the National Autistic Society, the NSPCC, Age UK, KIDS, and the Lavender Hill Mob Theatre Company (an inclusive theatre company in Norfolk). Sarah’s current research explores how practitioners, parents and pupils working at/attending special schools in the UK describe and enact ‘Best Practice’ in music education.

Gillian Loomes 

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PhD Candidate in Law, University of Leeds

Gill Loomes has a degree in English Law and European Law, a PG Cert in Special Education (autism), a PGDipEd (Advanced PGCE) in Lifelong Learning, and an MA in Social Research. Her PhD is a socio-legal study of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Gill’s research experience includes working with the International Disability Rights Monitor, where she acted as UK researcher on the Regional Report on Europe (published in 2007), and on the Essl Social Index for Disability Governance Pilot Study (published in 2010). She has acted as a research consultant, including for the Autism Education Trust, and holds a teaching fellowship with the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) at the University of Birmingham. Gill recently acted as guest-editor for the York Policy Review, producing a Special Edition of the journal on the subject of Mental Capacity. Today’s event draws on the Special Edition and gives the opportunity for engagement with, and discussion around the key issues it raises. A lifelong musician, Gill is a multi-instrumentalist – playing a range of folk/traditional instruments, including the hammered dulcimer and English concertina. She is also a singer, with a particular interest in English traditional ballads (story songs), and is a percussive step dancer, specializing in Lakeland clog traditions. She is passionate about the role of music in all its forms, as a means of self-expression and human social connection.

Rachael Salter


Master’s Student in Music Psychology, University of Leeds

Rachael holds a BA in Music from the University of Keele and is an oboist, saxophonist, and composer. She held the Love Music Trust Composition Fellowship 2016/17 and was awarded the University of Keele’s Jim Roberts Memorial Prize in 2017. Rachael regularly plays tenor saxophone with the Arrhythmics Big Band and oboe in a number of the Leeds University Union ensembles. In 2012 she played first Oboe in the European Youth Orchestra on Darmstadt and was the principle oboist for the Derbyshire City and County Wind Band between 2012 and 2015. As an undergraduate, Rachael held the position of Research Associate for the Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme and conducted research projects into the development of jazz performance at the University of Keele and the potential use of regular musical performance to aid pain management in chronic pain disorders. Her interest in music and disability research stems from her own experience as a musician with Asperger’s Syndrome and Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome. Rachael’s current MA research explores the effects of musical training and engagement with ensemble performance on the education of young people with high-functioning Autistic Spectrum Conditions in a mainstream school environment. She will be continuing this research as a PhD candidate at the University of Leeds from September 2018.