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Tania Lisboa and Rosie Perkins

Two health-focused research projects funded at Royal College of Music

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Two new Royal College of Music research projects focusing on health and wellbeing have successfully secured funding ahead of the 2019/20 academic year, reflecting the RCM’s position as a global leader in research combining traditional methods with musical performance and practice.

‘Managing the psychological needs of families affected by the Zika virus: Exploring the impact of music as a social tool’ has been awarded a British Academy Knowledge Frontiers grant of £50,000. RCM researchers Dr Tania Lisboa and Dr Rosie Perkins will collaborate with Dr Diana Santiago at the University of Bahia in Brazil to investigate the role music can have in supporting mothers to bond with small children affected by the Zika virus.

This 18-month project is built on a previous pioneering RCM project called ‘Music and Motherhood’, which investigated the role of music-making in supporting mothers experiencing symptoms of post-natal depression. The findings of the new project will be fed back into hospital practices and made available to practitioners and clinicians throughout South America.

Dr Tania Lisboa comments: ‘Receiving the funding for this project is particularly exciting as it marks a significant development of the RCM’s strategy to share expertise with researchers in the developing world. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to pool our collective research expertise and test the effectiveness of practical musical activities in initiating and developing bonds between parents and children affected by the Zika virus.’

The second project, ‘Professional Excellence in Meaningful Music in Healthcare’, was awarded €33,000 by Dutch research funder SIA as part of a larger trans-European RAAK-PRO grant. Lead researcher Dr Rosie Perkins will examine the professional development of musicians and nurses through person-centred improvisation in hospital settings, alongside researchers from Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, The Netherlands and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, among others.

Dr Perkins will work extensively with musicians on the maternity wards at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and in partnership with CW+, the hospital’s charity as part of their Arts in Health programme, as well as RCM alumni and students, providing them with training and support for working with live music in hospital maternity settings.

She comments: ‘This project adds to the RCM’s impressive portfolio of work in arts and health, allowing our researchers and musicians to work together to discover new learning contexts and to connect with new audiences. We’re delighted to be part of the trans-European research team and to have the opportunity to further our research on music in maternity contexts.’

Read more about research at the Royal College of Music.