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National award nomination for Healthy Conservatoires project

Tue 11 September 2018

A network created by researchers at Trinity Laban, Royal College of Music, and the Royal Northern College of Music to support health and occupational wellbeing in the performing arts community has been shortlisted for the national Health Humanities Medal.

Awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in association with the Wellcome Trust, the medal recognises the UK people and projects that are helping to transform the quality of life, health and wellbeing of the population through arts and humanities research.

Trinity Laban’s Head of Dance Science, Professor Emma Redding, with lead investigator Professor Aaron Williamon (RCM) and Professor Jane Ginsborg (RNCM), launched the £1m AHRC project Musical Impact in 2013 to investigate the physical and mental demands of making music.

They directly engaged more than 1,500 musicians, conducting fitness screenings for more than 600 musicians and vocal health screenings for over 150 singers. They discovered that some 80% of musicians reported pain in their upper body, while health and stress management was lower than expected, performers had poor sleep quality, limited use of coping strategies, and low self-rated health.

In response, the research team created Healthy Conservatoires in 2015, an international network that brings together the wider performing arts community to help support and promote occupational wellbeing and healthy, sustainable, careers. Healthy Conservatoires is actively expanding and currently involves some 150 UK and international members from conservatoires, schools and universities.

The network provides a forum for sharing good practice, peer support, and engaging with the latest innovation and evidence-informed practice. Researchers have worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Southbank Sinfonia, and introduced a ‘Fit to Perform’ framework throughout Conservatoires UK.

Healthy Conservatoires has been shortlisted for the Inspiration Award (one of five Health Humanities Medal categories) as a community-based project that has demonstrated impact and changes to healthcare settings and delivery, resulting in significant benefits for performing artists.

Professor Redding leads research at Trinity Laban into optimising performance health, and devising performer-specific training. Speaking ahead of the Health Humanities Medal award ceremony she said –

“I am absolutely delighted that Healthy Conservatoires has been nominated for the AHRC Health Humanities Medal. I hope that this new award will raise awareness of the importance of arts and health research as well as the measurable impact this work can make in enhancing public health.” 

The AHRC in association with the Wellcome Trust will present awards at the Health Humanities Medal ceremony on Tuesday 11 September at the House of Commons.

More information about Healthy Conservatoires can be found on the project’s YouTube channel.

Find out more about Dance Science at Trinity Laban, including the new BSc Dance Sciencehere