Who We Are


Bela Emerson is a highly experienced CTLLS-qualified Goldsmiths University of London -trained community musician, cellist, and trainer. Bela is passionate about enabling the remarkable effects of participatory music on wellbeing, and active in the field of promoting creative engagement using music.

Bela founded BHMC’s forerunner Open Strings Music in 2014, after a 12-month learning programme with London School for Social Entrepreneurs’ Start Up 2013-14 (and Trade Up 2017-18). As a programme manager Bela leads in designing, facilitating, and evaluating several BHMC projects, including Brighton & Hove Older People’s Music (funded by Brighton & Hove City Council’s Third Sector Partnership 2020-2023): her first project, Silver Strings, is now in its ninth year, providing a lively and supportive atmosphere for older people of all abilities to play stringed instruments together. Her work with Silver Strings earned BHMC a Brighton & Hove City Council Covid19 Community Champion award.

Since 2018, Bela has delivered regular music for dementia training for Goldsmiths University of London, including an online programme. She is also a mentor and Action Learning Set facilitator.

Bela also works with Wishing Well Music For Health – bedside music for connection and wellbeing, with young patients at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, and in acute dementia settings and community hospitals throughout Sussex. As part of this role, she trains medical students in using music in healthcare settings at Royal Sussex County Hospital.

As a performer, Bela has played professionally worldwide, including residencies at Sydney Opera House / Royal Festival Hall, recording four John Peel sessions for BBC Radio 1, composing for acrobats Mimbre, soundtracking films for Tereza Buskova, and playing for Radio 4 with Tamsin Greig, Rory Bremner, Sarah Angliss and Stephen Hiscock. One of her most notable recent performances was playing Wonderwall with Liam Gallagher at Birmingham Arena.


Anna Dolphin is a Programme Managers on BHMC’s Ageing Well partnership contract, delivering 60+ dementia-friendly sessions per year, since 2016 (funded by NHS via Ageing Well partnership, led by Impact Initiatives).

Anna is a highly experienced community musician and musician in healthcare, who also leads on BHMC’s Musical Box Scheme (funded by Thomas Deane Trust and Brighton & Hove City Council), bringing bespoke regular music sessions to some of the city’s most isolated people during the pandemic and beyond. She also co-facilitates BHMC’s sessions for and with older people in seniors’ housing.


Bethan Prosser is a Programme Manager on BHMC’s Ageing Well partnership contract, delivering 60+ dementia-friendly sessions per year, since 2016 (funded by NHS via Ageing Well partnership, led by Impact Initiatives).

Bethan is a violinist and PhD researcher at University of Brighton using listening methods. She brings her expertise in listening practices, sound studies, community engagement and monitoring and evaluation to BHMC. She also co-facilitates BHMC’s listening and sound sessions, including commissions from British Library / The Keep’s Unlocking Our Sound Heritage (2019-2022), Stanmer Sounds, and Preston Park Recovery Centre sessions.

Sessional Workers

We work with a range of highly-experienced community musicians, all of whom are DBS-checked and have public liability insurance cover. 


We work with a range of volunteers: from experienced musicians to health & social care professionals, carers, and others from all walks of life. We have various volunteer roles, both in sessions and behind the scenes – please visit our Volunteering page for more details.


We are currently commissioned by NHS Brighton & Hove CCG and funded by BHCC. We work in partnership with many other local and regional organisations – see Our Partners for further information.

Music for Connection is the trading name of Brighton and Hove Music for Connection CIC.