Series: Creative Thinktanks

Ideas explored: music for health and wellbeing

Creative Thinktank

Our first Creative Thinktank, co-chaired by Katherine Zeserson and Professor Graham Welch, gathered together colleagues to ask:

  • What do we know about the impacts of singing on health and wellbeing across the lifespan?
  • What areas of knowledge in the field are contested or uncertain?
  • What do we need to know more about?

Download Recommended Reading

Sketches that summarise some of the conversations and discussions that took place.

An introductory presentation by the Chair of Music Education at the UCL Institute of Education, Professor Graham Welch.

Thinktank Outcomes - Three Big Ideas

As a direct result of the Thinktank, three propositions were identified for continued action.

1. Research and Practice

Carry out an impact study: researchers/singing practitioners working together on how to articulate and share insights from research and how to get the experience of practitioners into the research domain. Creating….a series of events? A process?…to enable practitioners to harness research insights, and to help researchers understand the mechanisms at play within practice. We need to develop and/or discover the common language, within a reflective and reflexive practice dialogue. Might use the model of ‘close to practice’ research… might consider auto-ethnography. How to incentivise a shared language? How do we keep the language moving?

2. A Framework for ‘Community Connectors’

Development of a framework to better connect e.g. Suffolk NHS with practitioners and organisations. Consider using an action research/ piloting model designed to answer questions like: What would be training/support for the community connectors? What is the right model for connectors within the social prescribing framework? What about the resilience of the community connectors? Might the pilot study focus on singing? Bringing together NHS, singing leaders, arts organisations and patients/services users.

3. Music at Birth and Death

A project plan: 1 year of story collection (using auto-ethnography), also bringing together what research can be found on e.g. gero-transcendence, and early childhood. Then a residency at Snape Maltings to design pilot project in both areas. Considering ideas like musical doula – the intention of loving through song. In that year they might also create and opera/exhibition/piece working title Growing up and Growing down. Other ideas might include….writing your own requiem…