Healthy Conservatoires nominated for national health award

Monday 12 November 2018

Aaron Williamon, Professor of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music, has been shortlisted for the Health Humanities Medal as Chair of Healthy Conservatoires. Awarded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), in association with the Wellcome Trust, the Medal champions the application of the arts and humanities in interdisciplinary research, education and social action to inform and transform health, social care and wellbeing.

The AHRC’s Health Humanities Medal recognises the people and projects in the UK that are helping to transform the quality of life, health and wellbeing of the population through arts and humanities research. Healthy Conservatoires is nominated for the Inspiration Award, one of five award categories. The award recognises initiatives which feature a significant community based element in improving public health, healthcare or wellbeing.

Healthy Conservatoires was constituted in 2015 in response to the findings of the Musical Impact project, led by Professor Williamon. Musical Impact researchers found that 80% of musicians experience performance-related pain and that attitudes towards musicians' health are sub optimal considering the multiple physical and psychological demands of musicians’ day-to-day work. The findings of the Musical Impact researches and Professor Williamon as Principal Investigator pointed to the need for more effective health promotion initiatives within music education and the profession.

In response, Healthy Conservatoires brings together stakeholders from across the wider performing arts community to assist in supporting health promotion and occupational wellbeing. The network meets twice per year and includes over 150 members, including representatives from the UK performing arts sector, conservatoires, schools and universities who share a vision to support and promote health and wellbeing among performing artists.

Professor Williamon commented: ‘It is an honour for Healthy Conservatoires to be nominated for the Health Humanities Medal and to be shortlisted alongside so many fantastic projects. The nomination is wonderful recognition of our community approach to supporting and improving the health and wellbeing of performing artists. I am delighted that this award exists to raise the profile of the valuable work being done by arts and humanities researchers in the UK to enhance public health.’

One nominee from each of the five categories will be selected as the Medal’s overall winner. The nominations are assessed by a panel of academics, health practitioners and industry professionals and winners will be announced on 11 September at an awards ceremony at the House of Commons.

More information about Healthy Conservatoires can be found on the project’s YouTube channel. For information about the Centre of Performance Science, jointly run by the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London, click here.

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