Research Associate, Faculty of Social Sciences
Since October 2016 I have been a PhD student in the School of Sociology, based at the Institute of Mental Health on the Jubilee Campus. My PhD research focused on the evaluation of the CHORD manual, a resource for facilitators of singing groups for people with dementia, and on understanding the experiences of people who attend these groups. I hold a BA in Music and Master of Studies in Musicology from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Music Therapy from Anglia Ruskin University. Prior to starting my PhD I worked as a freelance music therapist, primarily with people with dementia, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum conditions. I continue to practice as a music therapist and community musician.
In June 2019 I took up my post as Research Associate on the PRESIDE (Pilot Randomised Evaluation of Singing in Dementia) Study. The study focuses on the potential of group singing to support the… read more
In June 2019 I took up my post as Research Associate on the PRESIDE (Pilot Randomised Evaluation of Singing in Dementia) Study. The study focuses on the potential of group singing to support the wellbeing of people with dementia and their carers who live in the community. Previous research has already demonstrated that group singing may improve mood and quality of life, strengthen the relationship between people with dementia and their carers, and provide social benefits in the form of a support network. This new study, funded by the Alzheimer's Society, is a feasibility study, meaning that researchers are looking at whether the research methods they have planned will work in the real world. The researchers will be looking to recruit 80 people who have been diagnosed with dementia in the last 12 months along with their carers. Participants will be invited to attend 10 weeks of group singing sessions, led by experienced musicians. The groups will be fun and informal, and no experience of singing is necessary, just a willingness to have a go. Researchers will use questionnaires to collect information about quality of life, mood and the relationship between the care partners. They will also talk to people who attend the groups and observe sessions to understand how people take part in the group, what they get from it and whether their responses change over time.
Once the study is complete, analysis of the findings will show whether it would be feasible to scale up the study in order to conduct a larger trial. Demonstrating the benefits of social activities such as group singing for people with dementia will help to secure more funding and resources, supporting people with dementia and their carers to live well with the condition for as long as possible.
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