Dr. Stephen Clift

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Affiliation: Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health
Presentation: Interest Session
Title: Singing: a fundamental human resource promoting wellbeing and health
Abstract:   Music is a fundamental human capacity.  Evidence of music making can be found from over 40,000 years ago. Before the development of instruments early people no doubt used their voices to make musical sounds and this may well have served important social functions in early hominid groups.  When we sing together we are using our own natural musical instrument, and people with little or no experience of group singing, can very rapidly experience positive changes in mood and feelings of raised energy and focused attention.  These aspects of group singing are increasingly recognised as a resource for promoting wellbeing and health, particularly for groups of people with on-going health challenges.  Throughout the world, a growing evidence base supports the idea that singing is good for health, and examples will be given of singing projects on singing and cancer, stroke, respiratory illness, dementia and Parkinson’s, with short film extracts to meet people who have gained positive benefits.


BiographyStephen Clift is Professor of Health Education in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Research Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. He has worked in the field of health promotion and public health for over twenty-five years, and has made contributions to research, practice and training on HIV/AIDS prevention, sex education, international travel and health and the health promoting school. Stephen’s current interests relate to arts and heath and particularly the potential value of group singing for health and wellbeing. He is one of the founding editors of Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice and Honorary President of the Singing Hospitals International Network.