Singing and Social Bonding: Creating connections between practitioners and researchers
We are planning a one-day workshop attended by invited academics and community choir representatives. This event will form the basis of future collaborations between researchers and singing practitioners that we hope will ripple out beyond the core of attendees, by facilitating the creation of a network of practitioners and academics interested in developing best practise and constructing an effective research agenda. The expected outcomes are:
- Collaborative multi-site projects evaluating the use of singing in creating cohesive communities and combatting social isolation,
- Academic research into social bonding and singing directly informed by community music practitioners,
- Community choir practice directly informed by current academic research.
In addition, collaborators will aim to produce a portfolio of evidence relating to the efficacy and role of community choir charities in creating communities and the consequences of this for health and wellbeing, which can be used to lobby for further funding and support.
It is becoming increasingly clear that creative arts such as singing can be a cheap and effective way to improve wellbeing and social integration (e.g. Pearce et al., 2015). Promoting collaborations between academics and practitioners interested in singing can both improve provision, through feeding back and evaluating evidence-based strategies, and allow researchers to create a portfolio of evidence about the effectiveness of singing activities that can inform policy.
The event will pave the way for multi-site singing projects, which is an inexpensive way to effectively replicate and corroborate academic research. It will also involve the use of shared resources between academics and charities, saving each partner on costs in the long-term.
Since social isolation and loneliness are becoming increasing concerns and are associated with significantly poorer health outcomes, singing may provide a relatively cheap way of maintaining good public health and wellbeing, and a collaboration of this kind is the most efficient way to determine this.