Dr. Marisol Norris is the founder and CEO of the Black Music Therapy Network, owner of Aesthetic Healing, and Director of the Music Therapy and Counseling Masters Program at Drexel University. A leading scholar of Black aesthetics in music therapy, Dr. Norris has presented internationally on the liberatory function of artistic processes, expanding the applied practice of radical healing frameworks within music and health spaces. Dr. Norris' work centers Black communities, specifically the agented portrayals of Black service recipients' health practices across chronic illness and mental health and emancipatory research that eliminates health inequities within Black communities.
After receiving bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Oakwood College, she relocated to Philadelphia, PA, and obtained master's and doctoral degrees in Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University. Her music therapy practice and supervisory experience have spanned medical and community health settings and profoundly deepened her commitment to healing justice and dismantling relational and structural violence through community-based advocacy, education, and action.
Not bound within university walls, Dr. Norris is a healthcare practitioner, scholar-researcher, and organizer. She is a core organizing member of the Critical Pedagogies in Arts Therapies Alliance, a transdisciplinary initiative that works to transform education and research across arts therapy disciplines. She co-founded the BIPOC Student Fund and the Journal of Music Therapy's Justice and Equity Research Mentorship Program to provide immediate need-based assistance for BIPOC arts therapy students and to support the critical scholarship of emerging researchers. She has held offices in the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and is currently a member of AMTA's Commission on the Education and Training of 21st Century Music Therapists tasked to develop recommendations that guide the future of the music therapy profession.
Dr. Norris' experiences bolsters her mission to affirm Black communities' aesthetic experiences across music and health. She has published in several journals on culturally sustaining practice and music therapy with Black service recipients from marginalized communities. Her current research and scholarship explores music therapy and radical healing frameworks through the discursive analysis of race, gender, and sexuality. Dr. Norris' recent co-edited publication, "Black Aesthetics & the Arts Therapies," demonstrates this work as "theory in the flesh" and the deliberate care in bringing margins to the center.