AI music project to help young carers

The charity gaddum has teamed up with Manchester Metropolitan University to use artificial intelligence to explore connection between mood and music.

Joe Lepper | 31st Jan 19
Image shows headphones on a background of musical notation representing music

A charity and university have linked up to test the use of artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced music to help young carers tackle loneliness and social isolation.

The Greater Manchester based charity gaddum and Manchester Metropolitan University project will test AI technology used to read facial expressions and interpret them with music and sounds.

To create the music a series of workshops is to take place where young carers will share their experiences of loneliness and explore ways music can help them.

“This is an innovative project working with young carers in what should be an exciting time of their lives as they study for their future,” said gaddum Chief Executive Lynne Stafford.

“We hope that this partnership with the skilled team at Manchester Metropolitan University will reach out to this audience to tackle loneliness, raise awareness of the issues they face and bring people together.”

Dr David Jackson, Research Associate at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, and researcher on the project added: “By working with gaddum and their network of amazing young carers we’re looking forward to putting new music and AI technology to good use.”

“We want to produce research that can be used by young carers and organisations around the UK to deal with issues surrounding loneliness.”

“To do that it’s vital that we really listen to what these young people experience, are interested in and need – we’re expecting to be set some interesting creative and technical challenges in the process.”

Building Connections Fund

The project has been backed by the government and Co-op Foundation’s Building Connections Fund, which is looking to tackle loneliness in deprived areas.

Minister for Loneliness Mims Davies said: “There is no one cause of loneliness and therefore no one solution. That is why we are working alongside a broad range of businesses, voluntary organisations and local councils to ensure that those who feel alone are best supported.”

“From new digital communities, to sports classes that bring people together, this fund will go a long way to achieving that goal.”

There are an estimated 280,000 young carers living in Greater Manchester who look after a family member with disabilities or health problems. Young carers can be particularly vulnerable to social isolation and bullying.

The AI project has been launched today (31 January) to coincide with Young Carers Awareness Day.