Co-creative songwriting for bereavement support

Cheatley, Lee and Ackerman, Margareta and Pease, Alison and Moncur, Wendy; Cardoso, F. Amilcar and Machado, Penousal and Veale, Tony and Cunha, Joao Miguel, eds. (2020) Co-creative songwriting for bereavement support. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computational Creativity. Association for Computational Creativity (ACC), Portugal, pp. 33-40. ISBN 978-989-54160-2-8

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Self-expression is essential to processing our thoughts and feelings and is central to successful mental health therapy. Art therapy provides a wider range of expressive mechanisms than offered through traditional approaches, allowing individuals to process their emotions when traditional therapies prove unsuccessful. Yet, effective expression through art therapy may call on a level of artistic experience that is not available to all. As such, a lack of expertise or comfort with artistic expression may hinder one’s ability to receive needed mental health support. Creative machines can offer novel therapeutic approaches by offloading the need for creative expertise and opening up creative self-expression to those who lack the corresponding experience. In this paper, we focus on bereavement, and explore a co-creative songwriting system, ALYSIA, as a new form of therapy for those who had recently suffered the loss of a loved one. We evaluate the utility of this creative system in aiding bereaved individuals through several case studies. In addition, we discuss the utility of co-creative systems to the therapeutic context with potential application to a broad range of therapies.


Cheatley, Lee, Ackerman, Margareta, Pease, Alison and Moncur, Wendy ORCID logoORCID:; Cardoso, F. Amilcar, Machado, Penousal, Veale, Tony and Cunha, Joao Miguel