Introducing Dr. Marisol Norris, Dr. Melita Belgrave and Dr. Natasha Thomas – ‘Sound in healing spaces’

Dr. Marisol Norris, Dr. Melita Belgrave and Dr. Natasha Thomas from the Black Music Therapy Network join Tessa Ann and Janelle to chat about their ‘Watering Our Gardens’ project.

Black women and femme musical placemaking practices have played an integral role in healing and reclamation within Black communities and beyond. The documentation of these practices, however, has been left outside of broader music and health discourse.

Watering Our Gardens: Black Women and Femme Musical Placemaking Practices, as an intellectual, creative, expressive and political project, seeks to acknowledge how Black communities have consistently challenged perceptions of healing space and what it could be and honor the liberatory function of restorative sound for Black women and femmes–how they have helped us get free, deepened our capacity to heal and be healed, and devised new worlds. 

You can view Marisol, Melita and Natasha’s interview on Episode 6 of the Online Summit:

About Marisol:

Bio: Marisol Norris, PhD, is a cultural worker, music therapy practitioner and educator, and the founder of the Black Music Therapy Network. 

Her clinical and supervisory experience has spanned medical and community health settings and includes acute psychiatric care, trauma and loss, addictions, and ruptures and repair within family systems.  

A leading scholar in Black aesthetics in music therapy, Marisol has presented internationally expanding the applied knowledge of radical healing frameworks and Black Indigenous healing practices. 

Marisol’s work centers anti-oppressive approaches across health settings that amplify the liberatory function of music processes to deepen human relationships and address relational and structural harms.

Marisol S. Norris, Ph.D., MT-BC (she/hers)

Aesthetic Healing, LLC

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Black Music Therapy Network, Inc.

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

BIPOC Student Fund by Black Arts Therapies Educators

Co-Founder & Organizer

The Commission on the Education & Training of 21st Century Music Therapists


About Melita:

Melita Belgrave, PhD, MT-BC is an Associate Professor of Music Therapy and Associate Dean for Culture and Access at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Her research interests are music therapy with older adults and intergenerational programming. She has presented at regional, national, and international conferences, and her research has been published in national and international journals. She co-authored the text “Music Therapy and Geriatric Populations: A Handbook for Practicing Music Therapists.” Additionally, Belgrave has authored a chapter in and co-edited the text for “Music Therapy in a Multicultural Context: A Handbook for Music Therapy Students and Professionals.”

About Natasha:

Natasha Thomas (they/she, plus any neo-pronouns offered with respect) is a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC). Alongside their role as Assistant Professor at IUPUI, they serve on the steering committee of the Black Music Therapists Network (BMTN); you can also find Natasha co-curating the “Black Creative Healing” podcast and related wellness events with fellow BMTN colleague Adenike Webb. Natasha is a committed advocate for creative & culturally sustaining support for marginalized communities. Her current research focus involves healing justice (which includes community care), social emotional learning, and Black creativity (particularly as it relates to identity and memory). Natasha’s research and clinical work are inclusive of emerging technology, as well as the perspectives of disability and queer identities, and the unique ways those perspectives and resources can intersect through the meanings we make, to impact quality of life.

  • PhD, Expressive Therapies, Lesley University, 2019
  • M.S. Master of Science: Special Education, University of North Dakota, 2012
  • B.M. Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy, 2008, University of North Dakota

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