Staff profile

staff list   Back Professor Stephen Clift

  • Job title: Professor of Health Education
  • Dept: Health, Wellbeing and Family
  • Tel: 01227 782707
  • Campus: Canterbury
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Profile summary

I have worked for most of my academic life at Christ Church University contributing to teaching and research in educational psychology, health education and health promotion, tourism and health, and HIV/AIDS prevention and sex education.  Since the late 1990s I have been interested in the field of arts and health, and in 2004 together with Prof. Grenville Hancox established the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.  The main focus of our work has been to explore the health and wellbeing benefits of regular group singing.

Research and knowledge exchange

Since 2004 I have directed research activity within the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.  We have been highly successful in securing major funding from a variety of charitable and public sources to support substantial research projects on singing, wellbeing and health.  This has included funding from the National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit Programme to undertake the world's first randomised controlled trial on the potential benefits of singing for older people.  Currently the Centre is pursuing work on the value of singing in the context of long-term conditions, including dementia, severe and enduring mental health problems, Parkinson's and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In relation to knowledge exchange, the Centre has recently published a series of guides to singing, wellbeing and health which are forming the basis of a developing programme of training for health professionals and musicians.  The Centre regularly organises seminars and workshops on arts and health topics, and in 2008 and 2011 ran very successful international conferences on music and health.  Our third conference in association with the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) will take place in April 2013.

Teaching and subject expertise

Psychology, health promotion and public health, research methods.  I am a Professorial Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, and work closely with the society to promote awareness of the value of creative arts participation for wellbeing and health.  I am an Honorary Member of the Global Alliance for Arts and Health based in Washington, USA, and Honorary President of the International Singing Hospitals Network based in Germany.  I am one of the three founding executive editors of the journal Arts and Health: An international journal for research, policy and practice, published by Taylor Francis.

External activities

Since the establishment of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, I have been a regular speaker at conferences and university seminars on issues related to arts and health, and the specific focus of the Centre's work on singing, wellbeing and health. 

Publications and research outputs

  • Bungay, H., Clift, S. and Skingley, A. (2010) The Silver Song Club Project: A sense of wellbeing through participatory singing, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 1, 2, 165-178.
  • Clift, S. (2011) Singing, wellbeing and health, In R. MacDonald, G. Kreutz and L. Mitchell, Music, Health and Wellbeing, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Clift, S. (2012) Creative arts as a public health resource: moving from practice-based research to evidence-based practice, Perspectives in Public Health, 132, 3, 120-127.
  • Clift, S. and Hancox, G.(2010) The Significance of Choral Singing for Sustaining Psychological Wellbeing: Findings from a survey of choristers in England, Australia and Germany, Music Performance Research, 3, 1, 79-96.
  • Clift, S., Nicols, J., Raisbeck, M., Whitmore, C. and Morrison, I. (2010) Group singing, wellbeing and health: A systematic review, The UNESCO Journal, Special issue on research on singing, 2,1, Available at: http://www.abp.unimelb.edu.au/unesco/ejournal/ 
  • Livesey, L., Morrison, I., Clift, S. and Camic, P. (2012) Benefits of choral singing for social and mental wellbeing: Qualitative findings from a cross-national survey of choir members, Journal of Public Mental Health, 11, 1, 10-27.
  • Skingley, A., Bungay, H. and Clift, S. (2011) Researching participatory arts, well-being and health: Some methodological issues. Journal of Arts and Communities, 3, 1, 73-87.
  • Skingley, A., Clift, S. M., Coulton, S.P., and Rodriguez, J. (2011) The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a participative community singing programme as a health promotion initiative for older people: Protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMC Public Health, 11, 142. Available at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-11-142.pdf
  • Von Lob, G., Camic, P. and Clift, S. (2010) The use of singing-in-a-group as a response to adverse life events, International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 12, 3, 45-53.