Advanced Competency Workshop

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Reimagining new possibilities: Collaboratively workshopping disability and neurodivergent affirming music therapy practice.

In this collaborative workshop we will imagine new possibilities that affirm disabled ways of being and neurodivergence in music therapy practice through exploring and co-creating knowledge together. We will do so through experiential learning, creative activities, and thinking reflexively. As music itself is not free of ableist norms, musical explorations will be included. It is open to experienced music therapists and/or those who have experience in related areas (including lived experience). Marginalised voices will inform the workshopping of ideas, to keep these front and center. The day will be covered in three parts. Each part will begin with a theoretical presentation of ideas followed by hands-on activities.

  • Part one will provide the set up for the workshop. We will reframe how we think about power, so that we can direct our concerns to systems of oppression rather than towards individuals in order to create a safer space for people to be open to exploring complex issues and new possibilities. Neurodivergence, understandings of disability, ableism and psychiatric disability will be explored.
  • Part two will explore post-ableist, trauma informed, healing centred practices and disability/neurodivergent affirming practices.
  • Part three will explore the language we use to describe the people we work with as well as the ways we frame and describe our practice. It can be helpful to examine language as it can be a site of representation, power, and resistance and can shed light on the often-unconscious meanings and messages about disability. Exploring the use of language alternatives can positively impact on how we understand and work with people in sessions.

This workshop will be a flexible space that’s inclusive for disabled ways of being. Across the day there will be opportunity to talk through challenges and think collectively about how we can move forward in less ableist and more disability affirming ways in our practice as music therapists. Let’s dream big as we reimagine music therapy practice together.


Dr Carolyn Shaw ( Dr Carolyn Shaw (she/her) is a New Zealand Registered Music Therapist and teaching fellow at the New Zealand School of Music, Te Kōkī, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa. Her music therapy practice has predominantly centred on working with children, their families, and schools. Carolyn has an interest in critical approaches, posthumanism and disability studies.

Zoë Kalenderidis ( Zoë Kalenderidis (she/her) is a disabled and hard of hearing registered music therapist living in Naarm/Melbourne and works within the disability community. She is interested in arts-based explorations which uncover new knowledge, share stories and build community. Zoë had her student research published in Voices, which shared the lived experiences of a music therapist with disability through arts-based research. Affiliation: Community Practice


Advanced Competency Workshop - Person with a disability $180 AUD
Advanced Competency Workshop (Maximum of 25 participants) $355 AUD
Click here to register for the Advanced Competency Workshop


Thursday 29 September 2022
Kathleen Syme Community Centre
251 Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC 3053
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Morning Tea, Lunch and Afternoon Tea included.

Maximum of 25 participants

  • 15 min drive from Crowne Plaza Melbourne
  • Accessible via Tram from Stop 124 Batman Park/Spencer St with a change at Melbourne Town Hall/Collins Street


The Venue has a requirement that a fully vaccinated COVID status is required for entry into the building. Proof of vaccination status will be required upon entry. AMTA strongly encourages attendees to wear a mask during the workshop.

The venue is on the first floor of the Kathleen Symes Library and Community Centre. An elevator is available behind the reception desk on the ground level. The venue is a carpeted room, with flexible seating arrangements and strong natural light. The AV system has dimmable brightness levels and adjustable volume, to cater for sensitivity. There is accessible parking available at the front of the library entrance.


A commercial car park (Ace Parking, Faraday St) is available next door to the venue, for a $15 daily fee. There is limited metered parking on the surrounding streets. Tram services on Swanston St (1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67) stop less than one block away from the entrance to the library. The Melbourne University Stop on Swanston Street is one stop outside of the “free tram zone”, therefore a Myki Travel card will be required for touch on.


The workshops are fully catered with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea provided. Tea and coffee making facilities are also available, and a cafe will be operating on site. Options will be available for those with specific dietary requirements.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia, and pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the importance of connection to culture, land, kinship and community to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander families. We acknowledge the cultural practices and traditions still carried out today and being passed down to future generations.