From Researching the Queering Potential of Music Therapy to Queering Music Therapy: An Unexpected Journey


critical examination of music therapy
challenging of norms
power imbalances in clinical practice
participatory research
arts-based research

How to Cite

Fent, J. (2019). From Researching the Queering Potential of Music Therapy to Queering Music Therapy: An Unexpected Journey. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 19(3).


In my article, I intend to trace the route from which the development and realization of an arts-based research project has led me. In this still ongoing project, I am aiming to explore in what way improvisation in music therapy fosters the emergence of ways of feeling and expressing that are excluded from hegemonic discourse and thus enables personal growth and development also in ways marginalized through certain societal norms. I started off with a theoretical concept merging psychoanalysis, queer theory, and music therapy theory and wanted to explore the specific potentials of musical action, which this concept entails. I chose an arts-based research style for this examination, as I intended not only to formulate and discuss these potentials,
but also to focus on how they are experienced by individuals. I felt that, if I am interested in direct experience, I had to involve research methods that induce this experience – merely talking or thinking about them would not bring me far in that respect.

As the project is still ongoing, I cannot provide a final presentation of results here. However, there is already one result which I want to make the main topic of this article. Unexpectedly, in the course of the project I not only dealt with queering in respect to contents, but queering was also a process in which I found myself. In this article, I will elaborate why and how this happened.

I will first outline the motivation and development of the research project. Next, I will focus on the theoretical framework: first from the work of Julia Kristeva (1984/1974) – particularly Kristeva’s conception of the subject as a sujet-en-procès (a subject-in-process) and the conception of different modes of meaning-making, and second from queer theory. Finally, I will elaborate on my personal experiences during the project which enabled me to critically examine music therapy in a way of ‘queering’ my understanding of music therapy.

Copyright (c) 2019 Julia Fent

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Articles published prior to 2019 are subject to the following license, see:

Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the  Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0 that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.


Bergen Open Access Publishing