National Lottery Tribute Bench to Dr William Longden

photo of some of the JOS team at the dedication of the award in the form of a bench

Dr William Longden, JOS founding creative director has been honoured with a unique, handcrafted bench designed by the country’s most famous furniture restorer and eco-designer Jay Blades – of  the popular TV program The Repair Shop.

William,  multi-modal artist,  musicologist, researcher and advocate for Inclusive Society founded Joy Of Sound 20 years ago to deliver inclusive community music sessions using bespoke music instruments and inclusive approaches that facilitate access to music making for people of all ages and ability. One of 13 creative community catalysts across the UK recognised for their commitment to supporting some of the most vulnerable people  during the pandemic, with thanks to National Lottery funding.  

 ‘Joy of Sound’ volunteers have offered a program of weekly workshops around London, UK wide and  internationally  since January 2000. When face-to-face workshops halted at the start of the C19 pandemic, William’s creative direction of the JOS team ensured that JOS beneficiaries, their familial and professional caregivers, and JOS volunteers could continue to provide, and participate in creative activities toward their sustained wellbeing. William worked with project participants and volunteers to devise and instigate a programme of inclusive participatory online workshops, initially running three a week, before expanding to six different sessions a week. Visit for current workshops and events that include the release of JOS’ 20th Anniversary Album that offers an amazing insight into 20 years of Inclusive Participatpry Community Music making. 

William’s bench is installed at a beautiful and accessible location on Hackney Marshes.  It is emblazoned with the poignant quote “We Can All Play” in recognition of the fact that co-creative play as a method of interactive improvisation offers a universally accessible aesthetic that brings equal benefit to all participants by embracing all forms of ‘difference’ as creative potential towards personal and social wellbeing and development. An in-built QR code will allow visitors to the bench to listen to an audio recording of Jay Blades regaling William’s story.

Thank you to All JOS participants and volunteers for your part in achieving this Award that acknowledges the Joy of Sound as an ongoing source of inspiration towards a more inclusive and equitable creative society.    

Find out more about how The National Lottery is celebrating the work done by people across the UK, visit