Guitarist/bassist/bouzouki player and composer Mark Fisher has worked as a musician in educational, residential and healthcare settings for ten years. A keen improviser and composer, he specialises in using music to create a sympathetic environment for participants, whether hospital patients, service users, trained professional staff or musicians, to relax, interact together and develop their creative skills.
Mark has spent much of his career playing in bands, collaborating with a diverse range of musicians and writing songs. After completing a foundation course with Access to Music, an organisation training pop musicians to develop skills required for educational projects, he went on to gain a BA Honours degree in Music and Philosophy with the Open University, completing this in 2006. In 2005, Mark was commissioned by Interplay Theatre Company to compose music for their production, ‘Daughter of the Wind’, based on the Greek myth of Alcyone and Ceyx. He also toured with the company for this production, and was responsible for overseeing the production of recording of the music created.
In 2009 Mark became the second Musician in Residence at the Seashell Trust, a charity specialising in providing educational and residential provision for deaf children, young people and young adults with complex communication needs for a 3 year post funded by Children in Need. He continues to work alongside Ros in this role using live music for a series of communication based programmes, and in creating documentation slideshows and soundtracks that portray the impact of music on communication and interaction for many of the children and young people at the Trust.
In healthcare settings Mark has worked on projects with adults with cystic fibrosis, creating music with patients and recordings for them as part of a creative programme of patient centred projects devised by LIME. In 2007 he produced a DVD of music and images documenting a year in the life of Robin House Children’s Hospice in Balloch, Scotland, funded by CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland) and Jessie’s Fund, a charity specialising in the development of music provision in children’s hospices in the UK. A significant proportion of the participants he works with have a limited life expectancy and the production of creative material that can be kept by the participants’ families is an important part of his work.
Mark’s work in paediatric settings has involved composing site specific music inspired by and created in response to the building and the patients, family and staff he comes into contact with, and working on the wards with Ros and the RNCM students to deliver musical experiences for patients and families on the wards. In 2011 Mark also worked as a lead musician for the Youth Music project medical Notes which helped to develop the programme of work at the hospital.
A keen collaborator, Mark has also worked on a range of community based projects with film makers, dancers and visual artists in the North West, using music technology and devising soundtracks with groups. His recent commissions have included participatory projects with the highly acclaimed mental health arts organisation START, producing soundtracks for animations for the exhibition ‘Held’ and working with participants to create soundtracks linked to mood for use in a Department of Health commissioned website focussing on the benefits of the arts in dealing with mental health. Other commissions within arts and mental health include work with Blu Sky in creating an installation of film and music for the exhibition Digital Organics as part of his role as invited artist in residence.