Learn about Victoria Hume
MHHA: Who are you?
VH: Victoria Hume
MHHA: In what part of the world do you work?
VH: The UK, and sometimes South Africa.
MHHA: What is your area of interest or expertise?
VH: As a practitioner, it’s music and health/medicine – and more broadly I work as a strategic director at the intersection between culture/creativity and health/wellbeing.
MHHA: Do you have research/practitioner partners?
VH: In SA, I work with the Wits Institute for Social & Economic Research as well as the Wits School of Arts and Health Communication Research Unit. In the UK, I work with lots of researchers and research hubs who are partners with the organisation I run (Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance).
MHHA: Who funds your work?
VH: My ‘proper’ job in the UK is funded by Arts Council England. I get various different bits of funding for composing music, when I’m lucky – the last one was from the PRS Foundation for Music in the UK (a Women Make Music grant).
MHHA: Please tell us about your recent project.
VH: I composed a 20-minute choral work for singers who are affected by chronic respiratory disease, commissioned by rb&hArts. You can watch a video about the whole thing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ipi3VeKWSE…and I’m running a national alliance that brings together organisations and individuals who are working at the intersection of creativity/culture and health/wellbeing: https://www.culturehealthandwellbeing.org.uk/. Both of these have been funded by Arts Council England.
MHHA: What about your work makes your smile?
VH: Unusual partnerships across disciplines; offering up new ways of understanding something as apparently fixed as a health condition; teaching; turning people’s words into lyrics; watching the pleasure that musicians performing in a hospital can bring; having the chance to make music…
MHHA: What are the challenges of your work?
VH: Building collaborations is more time-consuming than we think and requires a lot of persistence and trust, and good humour.
MHHA: What are three positive things you/your team has achieved in the last year?
VH: For my job at the Alliance: A big conference at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, a new website, a collective response to a funder’s draft strategic framework, independence as an organisation… lots of things: highlighting good practice, building new connections with activists working to build equalities of all kinds, many many emails in response to people trying to find information or build connections.
MHHA: What advice would you give to a mentee aspiring to join your field?
VH: Hang in there, it’s worth persisting – working with people from other professional spaces or disciplines is ultimately always rewarding; even it’s bumpy at the time it ends up stretching your thinking, and opens up new possibilities. I was talking to a colleague yesterday who said that ‘we live in a time of hybrids’ – I wonder whether this hybridity is the end point, or a precursory stage to a more collective, plural, anti-hierarchal understanding that medical humanities and arts and health and all these cross-disciplinary spaces ultimately aspire to.
MHHA: What do you hope to be doing in 5 years? Where will you be?
VH: I have no idea!